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Richie Hawtin hits the road with his electronic enlightenment tour, CNTRL: Beyond EDM

When it comes to EDM, it’s safe to say that British-born, Windsor-bred, Berlin-based minimal techno guru Richie Hawtin knows what he’s talking about. Amassing over two decades’ worth of experience as a cutting-edge producer, performer and ambassador of all things that go bump-bump-bump in the night, Hawtin has remained relevant in a way that many of his ‘90s peers (think The Prodigy or Moby) could only dream of. Known for pushing the envelope with his live AV shows as Plastikman and for his chilling, futuristic take on music made with machines, Hawtin has wowed multiple generations of EDM lovers.

It only seems fitting for the man who grew up just across the river from techno hub Detroit to take on the role of educational guru as part of a new 17-date North American college tour, CNTRL: BEYOND EDM. Along with fellow electronic heavyweights Loco Dice, DJ TechTools’ controller specialist Ean Golden and a revolving cast of world-renowned talent (Carl Craig, Seth Troxler, Josh Wink, Victor Calderone), CNTRL aims to engage a younger generation of North American EDM heads who might not be so familiar with the roots of a global movement that encompasses far more than the dubstep-heavy sounds of Diplo, Bassnectar or Benga Skream.

In early October, Hawtin told SPIN that he felt a sense of responsibility to educate the next generation of electronic music aficionados. “I think a lot of what's out there right now is based upon instantaneous gratification,” he told journalist Philip Sherburne. “The high energy of Skrillex, the catchy lyrics, the melodies of Tiësto. There's a deeper shade of electronic music that is the foundation of what all this stuff is built on. That takes time to develop. It has its own intricacies and has its own way to grab people. But it's not instantaneous. Our music isn't for the masses.”


EDM's Age of Enlightenment
Hawtin, who’s raised the stakes on mind-blowing AV feats with his 2008 Contakt tour (remember that glowing Minus cube?) and his state-of-the-art Plastikman comeback (watch this video capture of his performance at MUTEK 2011), is now crisscrossing the continent by bus with his latest concept tour. CNTRL combines nighttime electronic gigs and daytime lectures on music technology, in partnership with prominent DJ school Dubspot. In Montreal, the conference takes place Monday afternoon at Concordia’s DB Clarke Theatre, and will feature local electro hero Tiga as special guest speaker.

If you needed further proof that Hawtin & Co. are fully committed to the cause, know that even Frankenstorm couldn’t prevent their first Buffalo show from happening, albeit unconventionally. While the gig itself was cancelled, Hawtin, Loco Dice and Paco Osuma built a makeshift studio in their hotel room and broadcast a live set to revelers at large, whether on Sandy’s destructive path or not.   

For those who’ve only recently discovered the wonders of “EDM” care of Afrojack and Skrillex, here’s your chance to appreciate brittle, slow-burning soundscapes that build into beat-hungry behemoths as you immerse yourself in the experience.


CNTRL: Beyond EDM with Richie Hawtin, Loco Dice, Victor Calderone, Ean Golden
Lecture: with guest speaker Tiga on November 5 at 4 p.m. | Concordia’s DB Clarke Theatre (Hall Building) | 1455 De Maisonneuve W.
Show: November 5 at 9 p.m. | SAT | 1201 St-Laurent