This pretty much sums it up if you've experienced any one of the 15 shows which detonated at Timewarp in March, exploded all over Detroit in May, and maintained this momentum till the final KAPOW at WOMB in Japan this month leaving fans all over the world vibrating in some new cellular configuration.
For Techno enthusiasts, specifically the deep, rumbling, acidy Detroit variety there was no bigger event this year as Richie Hawtin resurrected Plastikman, his dark alter-ego, in what has unanimously been called the most mesmerizing, complex and technologically advanced live show in the history of Techno.
A significant part of this achievement goes to Derivative for providing the teamwork, technology and design that brought the visual element of the show to it's blinding, pulsating existence on the huge LED cage from which Hawtin operated throughout the year. I consider myself to have had the extreme good fortune (been lucky as shit) to have been on hand to document, write and promote on behalf of Derivative and to have experienced first-hand from inception to completion, the consistently ground-breaking and really hard work that went into this production from all sides. Everything it took to make it happen again and again.
Congratulations to the Minus crew and to the Derivative crew and looking forward to the next evolution!
+++ READ the DERIVATIVE-PLASTIKMAN PRESS RELEASE +++
+++ PICS and MOVIES FROM PLASTIKMAN at TIMEWARP +++
+++ MAKE VISUALS for PLASTIKMAN LIVE 2010 CONTEST +++
+++ more deets at the PLASTIKMAN VISUAL TECH blog +++
Mar.04.10 MANNHEIM REHEARSAL
The Derivative crew spent 4 days in Mannheim working with Richie Hawtin and his team preparing for the inaugural Plastikman Live show at Timewarp, March 27th. We can't reveal too much at this time but can say that the rehearsal was FANTASTIC and other than smoke alarms being set off by the fog machine around 5am things went off without a hitch. Very, very exciting. We are at this time looking for contest submissions from you! Send us what you have right now and the Derivative Plastikhelp department will help you refine your creation.
Below photos from Mannheim and more photos @ Plastikman.com
Mar.09.10 PLASTIKMAN TEKNIK REHEARSAL, MARCH 1-4, MANNHEIM
Here's the video teaser, short and sweet! Stay tuned for more secret details about the show later this week.
Mar.22.10 PLASTIKMAN CONTEST WINNERS!
We are very pleased to announce the Plastikman visual contest winners!
Last week Derivative compiled all the Plastikman visual contest submissions and prepared them for Rich and Ali to review. They were very impressed with what they saw and join us in thanking the participants for their elaborate and creative submissions to the contest.
While we can't show the winning entries till after the Plastikman launch at Timewarp next weekend we would like at this time to announce and congratulate the 4 winners: Bryant Place (CPU), Jeffers Egan, Peter Sistrom and Achim Kern who will each receive a TouchDesigner Pro license with support/upgrades that will cover 077 and the release after. Congratulations and keep up the great work!
And the grand prize winner whose work will appear in Plastikman shows this year is.... drumroll... Achim Kern!! Congratulations to Achim who has also won a trip to one of the shows where his visuals will be performed.
We'll be posting detailed reports of the Timewarp show next weekend that will finally reveal the Plastikman setup, visuals and general vibe. At the same time there will be a full review of the contest, work submitted, the artist profiles and their experience so watch this space!
Apr.11.10 PLASTIKMAN PREMIERE @ TIMEWARP
So here, as the team gears up for Coachella next weekend, cameraman Patrick Protz gives us the first official video footage of the renaissance of Plastikman, performing live for the first time since 2006 at Mannheim, Germany's legendary Time Warp festival.
APRIL.18.10 PLASTIKMAN 2 | COACHELLA
The Plastikman Live 2010 North American premiere took place Sunday April 18th at Coachella, the 3-day music festival attended 75,000 souls strong (and tanned) in the California desert. The line-up of talent was pretty mainstream focussing on indy-pop and musical legends like DEVO, P.I.L., Pavement, Sly Stone and Friends, The Specials and big ticket attractors eg. Gorillaz, Jay-Z, Tiesto, and Deadmau5.
Unfortunately there was little time to see many of these acts but we can say that the Plastikman set went off without a hitch and was spectacular! The sound was boomy and bassy and LOUD - as good as it gets, Rich's set embodying minimal, acidy techno at its root. And... the visuals were simply staggering.
Shot from the crowd the videos here give a glimpse of the performance and reception.
LA Weekly's Dennis Romero's article Plastikman Teaches Future Technology by Digging Into Past at Coachella provides an insightful and succinct report of the Coachella performance and scene. He writes:
On Sunday Hawtin brought back his early '90s alter-ego, Plastikman, for a mesmerizing experience of rib-cage-rattling low frequencies and pupil-shocking white light. While the earlier performance by '90s mainstay Orbital in the same Sahara tent seemed like a nostalgic rewind, Hawtin's performance almost served as a told-you-so.
Tracks from his seminal statements on "minimal techno," Sheet One and Musik, needed little remixing or contextual explanation: The ghetto pulses and snake-rattle snares seemed absolutely contemporary and totally at home in the brooding, dark-wave sound of now that emanates from Hawtin's new hometown of Berlin. We wonder if some of the kids in the tent had any idea that the tracks he was playing were, at 17-years-old, almost the same age.
Sifting through the Coachella blog after the show, Romero's sentiments were echoed in not exactly these words but in some pretty colourful ones and many times over by the Coachella audience. For example, posted by Keo345 at 6:44am the day after the show:
Richie ripped my  world apart.
Dark, evil, bombastic.
Gut-shaking, mind-wobbling, relentless bass.
That's all I can muster right now - hands-down the best set of the festival for me, if not the best in all my 7 years.
Keo345 later qualifies his last post:
btw I was not on drugs.
I feel that is worth noting.
Explicit, honest and enthusiastic reviews of the show - music and visuals - go on for a solid 9 long scrolling pages. Worth a look, really!
In this next video Rich gives URB magazine a tour of the Plastikman house in Palm Springs during prep for Coachella. If you want a good look at Rich's gear then this would be the op! The house was hive-like, buzzing with about 20 production crew and a constant flow of friends and music-industry people who intermitently came and went. Derivative's Jarrett Smith worked with Rich and Ali for an entire week prior to the show, the three remaining intently at work till showtime on the Sunday.
There were a couple of tense moments leading up to the show. One major concern was that Matthias Volrath (chief lighting engineer) wasn't able to make it to Coachella due to the moratorium on flights originating from Europe post the recent Icelandic volcanic eruption (Eyjafjallajokull). The entire German crew's return home the Monday after Coachella was also up in the air - no pun intended.
Another logistical problem was that where in Mannheim Time Warp organizers Cosmopop had provided 2 solid days of rehearsal on the festival grounds 3 weeks before the show and then another 2 days in the actual space prior to Time Warp itself, at Coachella there were a scheduled 3 hours for settup and soundcheck at 3am Sunday morning before the 9:30pm show that night. In that time the entire settup - screen, visual, sound and Synk app wireless network technology had to be erected, tested, and then dismantled again.
As it turned out, things were a little behind schedule and the 3am rehearsal happened in full sunlight at 8am Sunday morning. But regardless, as is clear from what preceeds, the show was a huge success. Visuals went off without a hitch and as can be seen in comments following YouTube videos, were received by all present as... well, variations on mind-blowing!
May.25.10 PLASTIKMAN 3 & 4| Paris & Roma
I caught up with Bryant Place to get a first-hand review of the Rome and Paris shows where Bryant was visual tech for Derivative. According to Bryant and confirmed by the videos he shot which are posted here both shows were pretty spectacular and the visuals properly complemented by lighting engineer Mathias Vollrath's excellent work.
On Saturday May 8th Plastikman opened WE LOVE SONIQUE for an audience of about 3000 fans followed by a line up of M-nus artists - Magda, Troy Pierce and Marc Houle. The show took place at Grande Halle de la Villette, a huge vaulted cast-iron building in the rehabilitated old slaughterhouse district of the city.
The show in Rome took place 2 weeks later at Dissonanze in the equally opulent 20-story high Palazzo dei Congressi where Rich also performed a dj set to close the night.
Next stop Detroit and the 10th anniversary of Movement. This will be the first Plastikman show in Detroit since 1994, a bit of a homecoming, and the anticipation and expectations are running high on all sides.
May.30.10 PLASTIKMAN 5 | Detroit, Movement
Detroit, Movement, and the return of Plastikman (16 years after the legendary Spastik show at the abandoned Packard Plant in 1994) to the city that spawned techno was as good if not better than the highest of expectations - which ran pretty high...
This much-anticipated show, the fifth of 15 scheduled tour dates was the best yet by all accounts. It was standing room only and then just barely in Hart Plaza's vibrating main stage, an experience described as something like being in a throbbing sardine can not even sure if your feet were touching ground.
This amazing video shot by Dan Browne looks like a close encounter of a pretty intense kind! It begins behind the pulsating 'Thunderdome' to give a rare glimpse of the backstage area during the show, then circles around to settle deep in the congregation close up to the spectacle. I had asked Dan for his impressions and experience at the Plastikman show to which he replied:
"I would say that was possibly one of the most intense events that humans beings could have gathered en masse to witness, given our present evolutionary conditions.. makes it clear techno is the rock'n'roll of the 21st century. I was right in front of the bassbins and every cell in my body was vibrated into some new configuration... now i'll never be the same again..."
Reviews of the Plastikman show repeatedly emphasize that it was the most technologically advanced show in Movement's history... that Hart Plaza and most in attendance had never been anything like this before... that Richie Hawtin was making bold contributions to the evolution of techno... that it was all very exciting.
It should be stressed that the festival was a huge success with an estimated record-breaking crowd of 35,000 enthusiasts on the grounds opening day. The atmosphere on this hot, hot weekend was energizing, colourful, eccentric, vigorous, enveloping, very friendly and in many ways a revival rave's glory-days by optimistic new generations. Being there and part of it was memorable.
In closing, here's more of Dan Browne's footage from the trenches and the show's finale when the DJ himself emerges from behind his wall of lights. “Plastikman was always very connected to me being in the studio by myself,” says Hawtin. “We built the stage like me being in the studio, locked away from everybody. [I] thought it was important to finally come out [at the end of the set] and take a step back to the beginning — me and one drum machine, playing around and tweaking something magical out of that. [The show] ended where it all began.”
Next stop: Sónar June 18th...
June.20.10 PLASTIKMAN 6 | Barcelona, SONAR
What's become quite clear in the evolution of the Plastikman Live 2010 tour is that each show is reported to be better than its predecessors as the process of perfecting the individual elements and the cohesive whole continues. The Sonar performance was no exception. The Visuals and lighting at the outdoor venue in Barcelona were better than ever and according to Derivative's Jarrett Smith who's been present at almost all the shows to date, "the sound was really some of the best techno punishment of all time"! Here's a taste of it, shaky but authentic, videos shot from the crowd.
Next stop T In The Park in Glasgow on 11 July -stay tuned!op: T In The Park in Glasgow on 11...
Jul.11.10 PLASTIKMAN 7 | Glasgow UK, T in the Park
Aug.06.10 PLASTIKMAN 8 | Saalberg, Germany, Sonne Mond Sterne
Let's just say the ride had been interesting. I have had every curveball thrown at me in effort to derail the SMS show from happening. We worked throughout the day in a rainstorm with mud puddles the size of small lakes. An hour prior to show, the screen would not work. I had to move all video equipment to the backstage, where the system was plugged in locally. in the end, I made miracles happen, and the show ran as programmed. That is, until Rich had a power failure on stage (due to the rain) and shortly moved onto Spastik for the conclusion.
Aug.07.10 PLASTIKMAN 9 | Plock, Poland, AudioRiver
AudioRiver was a music festival situated on a sandy riverbed. Here we had some technical issues by way of our video technician and crew. Throughout the show, a few panels (2) were losing sync and glitching pixels. This we later learned was caused by the image processor sending too powerful a signal to the screen itself (think of this as audio distortion). Still, it was a full energy show and the crowd was wonderful.
Aug.20.10 PLASTIKMAN 10 | Hasselt, Belgium, Pukkelpop
This show reminded me of Coachella in that it was very well organized. We had to setup around 8-9AM. During the day, most of the crew hung out in our artist area, which was quite nice! I setup a TouchDesigner system next to Rich, and we rehearsed the show, going through the interactivity of the audio-visual system. We worked out his new controller start positions and got dialed-in for the performance.
Feeling confident in all areas, video, lighting, sound, backline, networking .. we actually started the show a bit early. Again, it was one of the best performances to date and Rich really played with the interactivity of the visuals throughout the show. Apparently many of the artists on tour at Pukkelpop, attended the Plastikman performance.
Aug.21.10 PLASTIKMAN 11 | Ams, Holland, LOWLANDS
Bryant Place represented Derivative at the following 5 Plastikman shows so we asked him for his impressions from the trenches. This is what he had to say...
Although the Lowlands festival had the short end of the stick, in terms of production value regarding the stages and festival layout, there was ingenuity throughout the festival grounds. When I arrived at 7am, there was nothing ready for video, and at that moment I thought the day would be an uphill battle. Thankfully, the local screen crew was very responsive to my requests and although they took a long time to calibrate the screen and fix missing pixels, they provided a flawless service. Running off the momentum built by the yesterday's show the performance was amazing. The crowds response was terrific, again arguably one of the best performances to date.