I recently got the privilege of checking out Richie Hawtin's set at Decibel Festival
in Seattle, and it was an absolute treat! Here's why...
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="640"]
Richie's Live Setup[/caption]
1. He uses a live setup unlike any others.
As a gear nerd, I am always hugely interested in what DJs are using to play music live, especially if it's different than the standard 2 CDJs and Pioneer mixer. Richie definitely has a setup unlike anyone else, and uses it to mix like no one else can. The gear that I can pick out with certainty is 2 Traktor X1 controllers, a Native Instruments Maschine, a Rane mixer of some sort, and an enormous rack-mount soundcard that serves as his Traktor audio interface. With this, he's able to mix up to 4 tracks at once, as well as using one channel for his own live drum looping and synthesizing with the Maschine. For me, there's nothing better than hearing live chopped-up versions of tracks I already love! It adds depth and originality to the show and keeps me on my toes. I have a feeling some of the techno I head this night wasn't even part of a track per se... just Richie using the Maschine to make entirely new drums and basslines on the fly!
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="625"]
Richie's visuals were astoundingly sharp and well-timed[/caption]
2. He has extremely high quality visuals.
A high quality show like Richie's can stand completely on its own, just music and dancing. However, when you add amazing, flowing visuals to the mix, it just gets that much better. It also helped to have the amazing venue that is the EMP Sky Church, a room with a very high ceiling and an enormous high definition LED screen behind the performer. The opening DJs had pretty cool visuals, as nearly anything on a 60'x30' screen will look pretty cool set to techno music, but no one was ready for Richie's custom visuals. The visuals started out like the music did - simple. It started as just a white dot, scrolling from one side of the screen to the other, with just a kick drum coming through the sound system. As the music built up, the dot moved around more and more erratically, until, when the bassline kicked in, the dot exploded into hundreds of pinpoint white dots, as you can see in the picture above. This wasn't the only visual scheme either - he had plenty of other awesome morphing, blinking, and oscillating figures to entertain the crowd as the techno drums banged along. We can thank the amazing ALI DEMIREL
for this part of the show, as he performed the visuals live with Richie.
[caption id="attachment_26563" align="aligncenter" width="644"]
The techno crowd came out in full force[/caption]
3. The techno crowd goes out in full force.
If there's anything that can make a good show better, it's having the right kind of people in the crowd. At larger shows and festivals, the attitude is more about "going to the festival" than seeing and dancing to specific DJs' music. At Richie, every single person there knew what they were getting into. They knew the sounds that awaited them would be weird. They knew that some of the people there would be weird. and they rocked out to the pots & pans noises that reverberated through the EMP that night. If you ever see that Richie is coming to a city near you, you absolutely should go if you consider yourself a techno or house head. The show is unlike anything I've ever seen before, and absolutely worth whatever the ticket price is.