Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Richie Hawtin, Traktor and Twitter

An interesting development in the world of music technology seems (to me) to have happened.

Infamous DJ/producer Richie Hawtin has done something quite interesting – hooking up his Traktor DJ setup to his Twitter account. The result? You get a non-stop live stream on twitter of every track he’s playing on Traktor. As a lot of the stuff he plays is downloads and digital obscurities, this is a pretty amazing way to trawl through what he’s playing and find out odd bits and pieces.

As usual with all things Hawtin, it’s ignited fierce debate across the blogosphere. Some people think it’s the worst thing ever – that he is purely publicising himself without offering anything useful musically. Others think it’s a genuine leap forward.

I’m no big fan of Mr Hawtin’s current direction – it seems to be more and more of the same sub-Berlin minimal plodathon that is flavour of the month at the moment – records full of suspense and mid-paced tension, but without the set phrasing that suggests that it actually ever goes anywhere, or delivers anything at the end. That’s what I get from the ‘minimal’ scene anyway – it seems to me to be lacking dynamics to say the least.

But one thing that the ex-Plastikman does that is to be highly commended is that he seems to put much more stock in a sense of ambition, rather than acting with what some would see as authenticity. While others are revering the original techno formulas and the first wave of Detroit artists (and these guys deserve their due, but music is a living thing not a museum piece), Richie is out bending the formulas and pushing the technological boundaries.

Granted, sometimes he seems more interested in pushing the technical boundaries than actually progressing the music – but technical progression and new techniques tend to give birth to new types of music (Karl Steinberg didn’t invent house music, but he certainly helped), so he doesn’t have to write it himself to have a profound effect on what is happening artistically.

I think this is a great new example of someone putting collaborative web tools and new digital music technology together in an interesting (and highly accessible) way. The fact that I hate digital Djing, and dislike Twitter does not take away from the fact that this is a really interesting development, and anyone that values mutation and experimentation should applaud anyone that is out there trying new stuff.

1 comment:

mr tom said...

See also http://www.factmagazine.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2523&Itemid=105