As the leader of Detroit techno's celebrated "second wave," Richie Hawtin has served a decade-long ambassadorship among dance music's constantly quibbling factions. Seminal early releases on his Plus 8 label were instrumental in reconciling Detroit-style Puritanism and the inspired bastardizations that made techno a worldwide phenomenon through European rave culture. By blurring the line between self-consumed experimentation and crowd-moving populism, Hawtin has become an uncommonly diplomatic superstar DJ/producer who respects the friction between techno's provincial tendencies and its global aspirations. DE9: Closer To The Edit is a subtly shape-shifting sequel to 1999's Decks, EFX & 909, an essential Hawtin mix that still stands as a go-to manual on the DJ arts. On Decks, Hawtin created a dense and banging patchwork by spinning up to four tracks at once. Similar in its mosaic-like construction, Closer To The Edit benefits from the use of Final Scratch, new technology that allows Hawtin to mix vinyl records and digital sound files simultaneously. The result is a less beat-driven, restlessly mutating collage that hovers between dance-derived techno and echo-drenched dub. Packed with 31 clusters of tracks by obscure progressives (M.R.I., Crane A.K., Pantytec) and relatively established names (Carl Craig, Thomas Brinkmann, Hawtin himself), the disc wavers from glitchy microhouse to meaty beats that throb with the glistening lushness of trance. Other DJs have navigated similarly weird fusions to more elegant ends—most notably Dan Bell and Matthew Herbert on recent mixes for the Tresor label. But even through Closer To The Edit's occasional stretches of heavy-handed effects and listless loops, Hawtin is alone in his ability to so effectively move both the masses and the margins.

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