Richie Hawtin celebrates his return to the Plastikman moniker after a five-year hiatus by opening his mouth and starting to… sing! It’s always good to see legends piss off their most narrow-minded fans. That said, it’s a good thing he restricts his most excessive wails to “Ask Yourself” and first single “Disconnect,” because, let’s face it, he’s a far better musician than he is a vocalist. And while he claims that his singing makes his work more “personal,” surely the more subdued, introverted numbers on here (like “Lost” and “Headcase”) are better indicators of his music’s ability to penetrate the superficial “conceptuality” that so many of his peers seem afraid to move beyond.

So, apart from his own singing (and remember, he’s already used sampled vocals extensively on former albums), the most impressive thing about Closer isn’t Plastikman’s reinvention of himself, but rather the consistency of his output. Hawtin’s re-emergence as Plastikman is due to his realization that there are a few stones left unturned in the Plastikman world. After a decade since his debut, Hawtin is still able to advance on his formula and to further explore the twisted, dark and ambient soundscapes he originally developed.

Mute Records:

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