Given that today is ‘606 Day’ (honouring the TR-606 Drumatix), for this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’ve selected a stripped back techno classic that pushes that particular Roland drum machine to its limits.
Richie Hawtin’s Sheet One, released in 1993 under his Plastikman moniker, is a straight up minimal masterpiece, from the infamous ‘acid tab’ inlay card, to mind-melting tracks like Plasticity, Gak and Plasticine.
On Helikopter, which didn’t make it on to the original Plus 8 vinyl release [it’s on side B of the NovaMute version released the same year], Hawtin goes hell for leather on the 606 and 808, in a track that’s reminiscent of the perhaps better-known Spastik… championed by the likes of John Peel.
As Hawtin told Music Radar in 2016, Helikopter was recorded in about an hour, with the then-23 year old producer making the most of the patched-up studio in which he operated.
“It was a quick jam,” he said. “In the 48-hour session that made most of the album, Helikopter was basically an hour in the studio. The studio, over the course of four or five months, had just been patched and set up in a perfect way that all the music percolated with all those frequencies. Everything I made was perfectly matched to the vibe I was looking for.
“I left my machines on for days, or even weeks at a time, because I was superstitious that I would lose that certain magic thing. The machines have an energy that can be lost if you turn them off.”
As for the frenetic peaks and troughs of the track itself?
It was a case, he explained, “of me just trying to see how much I could drive people’s mental state and physical states”.
Prepare for take off, in other words.