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Our critics' picks in new releases



After a five year hiatus, the mad-scientist minimalist techno-DJ Richie Hawtin returns to his alter-ego, Plastikman, to make a hypnotic album of dark swashes of synthesized gurgling. Let me try to give a sample of what it sounds like: blaaat, squish, squoosh, swiiiish, shhhhh, click, click, click, click, swaashh, blooop, blip, blip, bleeeep! This time our Plastikman speaks on disc, too, albeit in sonically altered form: "I hear everything," our ominous superhero mutters in a distorted baritone, "Those aren't voices in your head." Yikes!! The digital textures flood into your headphones like some spirit possession ceremony among the primitives in Marshall McLuhan's global village. You start to get lost in the circular matrix of their soothing flow. Then they grow louder, almost unbearably full of pressure. You want to turn your CD player off. You also want to giggle. But you're not sure what the right thing is to do. Plus the wrong move might get you zapped into tidbits. Get close to "Closer": the ether is alive with the sound of music. We log in and listen as medicine man Hawtin casts spells, rustles up mysteries, readies the laser guns in his Pro Tools-box of secrets.

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