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November 30, 1999 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-30

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 30, 1999

4KING RECC
FE MUSJC INDUSTRY'S

I

ONE BIG HORRIBLE 'DEATH'

Hawtin showcases
techno excellence

MTV

show spawns bland disc

a0

Celebrity Death Match. The only clay con-
structed program that strikes fear into the hearts
of college students and pre-teen MTV viewers
across the country each and every time it graces
the airwaves.
As if the the visual stimulation of the "most
gory claymation show in all of history" wasn't
enough, the wizards in the
MTV marketing department
dreamed up a Celebrity Death
Various Match CD for the blood-
thirsty viewer in all of us.
The stellar talent lined up
Celebrity-Death for this release include the
Match likes of Marilyn Manson,
interscope Records Eminem, Powerman 5000,
Reviewed by
Daily Music Editor and other "hard edged" acts
Gabe Faju i like Sevendust and Rob
Zombie.
Perhaps the record's only salvation is that it
doesn't take itself too seriously. The first track,
Marilyn Manson's "Astonishing Panorama of the
Endtimes" is nothing more than typical Manson
dreck. Successive offerings spiral further down
the ladder of good taste. Xzibit makes a crass
commercial move on track number two, simply
titled "Celebrity Death Match." Replete with
crowd cheers from the television show, if the rap-

as Celebrity Death Match (the program) tries to
capture a sort of humor that was evident in only
the first few short and humor filled clips used as
teasers between other bland MTV programs.
But leave it to creators of "the next big thing"
to beat that very same thing to death. The show
and disc are both clear cut proof that MTV needs
to re-examine their formula for success.
Eminem's contribution to the pseudo-sound-
track, "My Fault," isn't all together horrible, but
like most of his choruses, the line "I never meant
to give you mushrooms girl I never meant to bring
you to my world" does elicit at least a few pathet-
ic laughs from listeners before turning extremely
annoying. As if that weren't enough, the song
appears to have been edited for younger fans.
Ironic, isn't it, that the album closes with a
track titled "Money" from none other than those
radio darlings of this past summer, Lit. Indeed,
this record was not released because a stellar line
up had been assembled and should be heard, but
for profit and profit alone.
At any cost, be sure to stray far from the path
of the Celebrity Death Match. If the actual show
wasn't enough to scare you away, the CD will be
sure to pound your senses into the ground
demanding you ask the question "Is this what
music has come to?" before crying uncle.

Best known as Plastikman, Richie
Hawtin has progressed through the
course of a decade from a white
teenager from Windsor fascinated by
Detroit's then-burgeoning techno
scene to the world's most acknowl-
edged techno producer.
In the early '90s before Hawtin was
restricted from entering the country, he
acted as the Pied Piper for America's
then-infantile rave scene. His all-night
warehouse parties in Detroit-charac-
terized by black plastic tarp covered
walls, minimal strobe lighting and deaf-
ening volume-drew youths from
across the Midwest.
"Decks, EFX and 909" captures

per ever had any talent, it isn't apparent on this
cut.
For those with a masochistic, Death Match
induced sort of spirit, be sure to check out other
winners on this compilation: "Standing 8," from
Powerman 5000, "Secret Wars," by The Last
Emperor, " and "Lets Go All the Way," by The
Wondergirls. Each song tries all too hard to cash
in by embodying a specific genre of music, just

Richie Hawtin
Decks. EFX
and 909
Minus Records
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Jason Birchmeier

the DJ side of
Hawtin instead
of his more
serene style of
music recorded
under the
P 1 a s t i k m a n
guise. Keep this
in mind when
contemplating
whether or not
to purchase this

Website compilation brings nothing new

Cductive.com is a music download site that also offers the service of burn-
ing audio CDs for its customers. Audio Ambrosia is a compilation demon-
strating the latter. Unfortunately, it's an uninspired indie rock venture that is
disappointing because it is an idea with promise.
It has its interesting moments. Starting off with a
Make Up song is always a good sign. But here it sets up
the disc for a fall. Almost all the songs in this collection
Various are readily available. Cductive touts itself as a place to
Artists find tracks you can't dig up elsewhere, but there's hard-
Audio Ambrosia ly a one on this CD-R. There's a Mercury Rev song from
www.cductive.com a David Bowie tribute disc, but that's it for worthwhile
Reviewed by rarities.
Daily Arts Writer The prevalent material is familiar stuff; old stand bys
Ted Watts or tracks off of groups most recent albums are the rule.
And while Helmet's Born Annoying, King Missile's
Jesus Was Way Cool or Servotron's Phonetic Lecture are good tracks,
they're not worth a look to the preexisting fan and they somehow fail to gel
on this random amalgam.
Listening to Audio Ambrosia is exhausting, and not in a good way. It's way
too jangly, and its good moments are drowned under the crush of the unin-
spired. For every interesting and new-to-the-listener band like the Giraffes

or the Junior Communist
Club, there's two Pete Krebs
or Danielle Howles ready to ,
suck the fun out of listening..
Cductive might actually be
doing this on purpose, daring -
the listener to go to their site.
and make their own, better
comp. The bad news for the
label is that CD writers are
becoming more and more
common and cheap and soon
anyone with a computer will
be able to do their thing bet-
ter and at home. The good
news for them is that the day
of the omnipresent CD writer
isn't here quite yet, and even
when it is the ability to sample bands you don't own yet will still be rele-
gated to companies like Cductive. Even so, don't let them assemble a com-
pilation for you today; you could certainly do a better job.

album. "Decks, EFX and 909" isn't
going to sound nearly as melodic or
calm as his Plastikman albums.
Instead of hallucinatory cerebral
elegies, the techno on "Decks, EFX
and 909" hits hard, fast and relentless-
lv. The 38 tracks Hawtin mixes non-
stop over the course of 61 minutes still
can be described as minimal by the
fact that their rhythms are repetitive,
sparse and void of excess, but he pro-
pels these tracks beyond the concept of
minimalism.
Through the use of three turntables
(decks), an effects processor (EFX)
and a drum machine (909), Hawtin
crafts a thick collage of continually
forward-moving grooves never lacking
in substance. Think of this as the head
banging thrash metal equivalent of
dance music.
Granted, Hawtin's DJ set may be a
little too intense for average listeners
not accustomed to relentlessly
pounding bass, deep layered'percus-
sion and subdued whirlwind synthe-
sizer melodies. Similar in nature to
the strobe lights Hawtin often uses to
alter the context of his rave parties,
this music will impair your judgment
with its fast-paced audio flickers,

flashes and tracers
The set starts out with some of the
hardest hitting house music currently
on the market. iawtin seems together
four different versions of Richard
Harvey's "User" to get things off to a
fast start. He then follows these records
with multiple versions of a Grain 2
record and two versions of Santos
Rodriguez's "Road to Rio EP"
lawtin then drops four tracks in row
of techno peer Jeff Mills (also from
Detroit) before moving towards a mon-
tage including four versions of Hawtin's
most recent release, "Orange," and the
industrial rock of Nitzer Ebb's "Let
Your Body Learn." After a momentary
intermission at track 23 where a voice
asks "What the hell was that?" lawtin
progresses towards European techno
such as a few tracks from Berlin's
Tresor record label.
Slowly, the invigorating pace of
Hawtin's set begins to ease around track
32. Here the dense, relentless techno
begins to vary in both tempo and spatial
attributes. The ambient, down-tempo
dub records of German producers such
as M and Quadrant slowly release the
tension built up by the preceding 45
minutes of the set, gently landing lis-
teners on their feet.
Once Hawtin lifts the needle from
the 38th record of his set, it becomes
clear that his mission is to take lis-
teners on a ride. Unlike other DJs
interested in making you dance,
Hawtin wants to test your limits and
boundaries, seeing just how far you
want to go. Judging by densely lay-
ered musical intensity of "Decks,
EFX and 909," lawtin's ride is
probably too much for anyone with-
out a sense of adventure or a taste
for hedonistic extremity.

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