Considering that Richie Hawtin has long been considered a pioneer of minimal techno, 1999's Decks, Efx & 909 mix CD was surprisingly dense. The mix documents Hawtin's refutation of DJ culture and tradition as he includes realtime beats and on-the-fly effects while pumping through several dozen floor-burning tracks, stacking up layers of cymbals and synth stabs with machine-like precision in order to create a rhythmic freight train. Shaking a little ass is imperative, but Hawtin overdid things with the Decks CD. DE9 | closer to the edit, Hawtin's latest opus, is a much more convincing exercise in minimalism.
In order to create DE9, Hawtin sampled, sliced, and diced more than 100 different tracks, creating a library of roughly 300 essential loops, which he then reassembled into his own mix. The results are breathtaking. By whittling the excess from the skeletal blips, beeps, whirs, and clicks and cuts that define the sampled records, Hawtin has left the menacing throb of traditional techno behind. By opening up some sonic space within the cluttered rhythm of Decks Efx & 909, he has magnified the inherent funk of the source material. And, by removing the physical limitations of cueing up records, Hawtin is free to bring different sonic elements in and out of the picture at just the right pace, pitting different percussive patterns and textures against one another. As a result, DE9 has nary a dull moment. The album even contains a number of housier elements that lend it a more intimate mood, making for a mix that will play just as well at home as in any laser-lit megaclub.