The Return of Plastikman

After years in the making Ritchie Hawtin returns with a new award-winning, multidimensional live show, Plastikman version 1.5. The Skinny finds out what developments this latest revision contains

Preview by Calum Sutherland | 07 Nov 2011

“Where did Plastikman come from? What is his relationship to Hawtin? And it’s worth asking, even, what kind of entity is he, or it? A studio alias, an alter ego, an ongoing multimedia experiment, a brand or perhaps all of these?”

So began MINUS100, the Plastikman compendium Arkives. The complete biographical discography and history of the life of Plastikman thus far was eagerly anticipated by many and received in its entirety by fans who, in November of last year, had reserved the made to order, self-curated chronicles of one of the most significant artists in electronic music history. Now, just as anxiously awaited is Plastikman version 1.5: a unique, award-winning live show in which every aspect of the experience – the music, lighting, audio, visuals and real-time audience interaction (via the iPhone SYNK app) – are controlled by a single on-stage performer, lurking within a huge LED cage.

The rebirth of Plastikman happened at Timewarp in Mannheim in March 2010 and has since toured the world, quickly establishing itself as one of the most involving, hypnotic and spectacular electronic performance spectacles of all time. It has created a new generation of EDM fans who may only have been aware of Hawtin through his unrivalled DJ performances and united them with those who have followed Plastikman since its original inception the early 1990s. 

With a handful of exceptions and the release of Closer in 2003, Plastikman remained in the shadows until early last year and has since evolved over a process of experience, fine tuning and development into version 1.5, with the aid of the Plastikman team. This large consortium, which is approaching a small army, includes longtime Hawtin collaborator, artist and architect Ali Demirel, and Jarrett Smith of Derivative who is responsible for TouchDesigner visuals.

In September MTV Ibiza’s end of season round-up featured Plastikman in a half hour long programme where one of dance music’s most subversive and innovative artists appeared in between coverage of the likes of Duck Sauce and 50 Cent. In a recent interview, Hawtin stated that he “…wanted to bring the most forward thinking, underground, live-electronic show to the centre stage, to the masses... and to show that electronic music can more than hold its own on the stages of today."

This he has certainly accomplished, although he is indifferent to the fact that his alter ego can now be considered appealing enough to take its place alongside some of the most mainstream music acts. As Hawtin stated in a recent live Twitter interview, “You can't disconnect music from technology,'s an art to find the perfect balance between man, music and machine.

Richie Hawtin presents Plastikman Live 1.5 at Glasgow’s Barrowlands on Sat 3 Dec, 8pm-12am, £25