Dusted Reviews

Richie Hawtin and Sven Vath - The Sound of the Third Season

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Richie Hawtin and Sven Vath

Album: The Sound of the Third Season

Label: Novamute

Review date: Mar. 23, 2003

Bound for Ibiza

Like solar orbits knocked off course by vagrant meteors, Sven Väth and Richie Hawtin compete at outdoing each other on this joint mix-CD by simply becoming each other. While I have grown to accept Richie's musical abandoment of the subtler, more fascinating and experimental aspects of Detroit-influenced minimal techno, his style in the Third Season is as clear as the delicate front-cover to this mix cd: completely transparent. Or, wait—is it Sven's? Last time I head Sven Väth he locked three decks of mad psychedelic trance in the early '90s with a ferocity that few could match at the time. He's still got his mohawk, but he just seems completely absent from the personality of this Third Season. For that matter, nowhere does one even find the trademark late-Hawtin-drop-the-bass-during-the-breakdown-with-two-tracks-up-the-delay-trick that Richie has down to T, and is one of his most incredible skills that sets him apart from a myriad million other banging' techno-trance DJs. This could mean two things: a) They are doing something new, or b) They aren't doing anything at all.

Rewind Energy Flash: Transmissions from Detroit

[And in the Third Season, UR's final plan to implement the White Assault Clones turned awry: the Clones became each other, losing all ability to mix distinct sonic assaults and producing a bland pounding of 4/4 eerily reminiscent of the early-80s cocaine beats that Model 500 first set out to destroy. Everything had come around. What had happened? The Third Season: is this the failure of Toffler's Third Wave? Or was this the plan all along, set loose by uncontrollable forces from Saturn? Perhaps T1000's final revenge when the Alliance formed between UR and +8 depicted in Flight +8019 disintegrated?].

...to the Mix

If you haven't already read the mainstream music reviews on this CD, here's the "spirit" of its release, albeit remixed through a lens of that other direction techno took:

1. Richie and Sven like going to Ibiza where they DJ at the Cocoon Club which seems to have lots of half-naked clubgirls dancing in tight things everywhere and a lot of smoke and other Ibiza trappings.
2. They thought it would be cool to snatch some sonic field recordings—the airplane, dinner, talking—then append it to a rather bland and slow mix of trance-techno anthems with heavily applied flange effects.
3. Sell CD.

Now the second half of this mix does get more interesting when we encounter deeper tracks from Swayzak and Ricardo Villalobos after Richie and Sven head off to an afterhours—but only briefly, and the mixing style remains the same, like it was beatmatched in Nuendo, i.e. perfectly, without a touch of human fingers anywhere on the vinyl (or is this all Final Scratch by now? Was this even really recorded live, or simply assembled by robots in the studio? DJ-Simulacra!). The saddest part of this mix for me—besides wishing I had somehow made it over to Jak-O-Lantern in the early '90s—is the very beginning, when one hears an airplane touch down with a slightly applied flange filter.... Yes, that flange filter, the one that opens onto "Plasticine" from the airplane flight recording on Plastikman's Sheet One. That airplane meant something very different. Richie Hawtin was someone very different. It was a take-off to an-other sonic planet, and it remains one of the most profound echoes of stark beauty ever transmitted from the Offworld. Now, it seems, that flight is First Class, drinks on the side, and simply lands in Ibiza.


List of explanations for the passage of Detroit Musik-Mythology:

1. Model 500 is Juan Atkin's alter ego. He made "No UFOs" in 1985, one of the first Detroit electro tracks.

2. UR believes, like George Clinton and Sun Ra, that interstellar music can overcome prejudice and the corporate muzak of the Programmers.

3. Alvin Toffler's Third Wave is a book that inspired a few of the original Detroit producers.

4. Saturn plays prominantly in the UR planetary alliance with The Wizard, aka Jeff Mills (as does Mars—The Red Planet).

6. T1000 is Alan Oldham's alter ego—he was UR's first Assault DJ. Besides an incredible techno producer, Oldham is also an awesome visual artist and cartoonist.

7. The Alliance between UR and Plus 8 Records (Richie Hawtin, John Aquaviva) was written in a cartoon book distributed as Plus 8019 (the 19th release). As Richie was from Windsor, there was obviously a bit of tension between him and the music producers in Detroit, as he was always doing parties in Detroit. The early Plus 8 releases said "Made in Detroit" on them. Thus this booklet seemed to be an attempt to forge a real peace as well as a symbolic link of music mythologies: Plus 8 was another label fighting the Programmers like UR.

For those interested, may I recommend Dan Sicko's Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk. New York: Billboard Books, 1999.

By tobias c. van Veen

Read More

View all articles by tobias c. van Veen

Find out more about Novamute

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.