Anna Minard, our city hall reporter, claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we're forcing her to listen to all the records that music nerds consider important.
Resident music nerd Dave Segal gave me Sheet One while grinning, so I knew this was either (A) something he really loved or (B) something he thought I would really hate. Whee! Plastikman has his own logo, which is a little dude (that dude must be Plastikman?). He's bendy and looks like he's about to start running—kind of like Dave Segal.
This is almost completely wordless electronic music. Beep beep boop boop, nts-nts-nts-nts kind of stuff. It's more entertaining than I thought it would be, since I love words and I dislike robots; I was pleasantly surprised at the slowness and complexity—as opposed to the ol' OMG SO MUCH BASS ALL THE TIME (OMGSMBAT) strategy. There are lots of little beeps for your ears to chew on.
My favorite song is "Gak," and not because of that '90s Nickelodeon toy goop. The best part of "Gak" comes in the middle, where it shifts from calm spacey beepy-boops to something with a swishy, silvery drum part and a neat beat. "Gak" is a soundtrack for space travel and the daydreams of artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, it immediately goes into "Helikopter," which is just OMGSMBAT. Bwomp bwomp bwomp bwomp, and then some bathroom-fan noise over top. It makes your head nod uncontrollably, but as if you were programmed, not like you're feeling it. Eventually it melts into just loud clicking.
My idea: Plastikman—who, by the way, is performing at Decibel Festival on September 27 at EMP Sky Church under his own name, Richie Hawtin—should be renamed Hollow Metal Humanoid. Dude's not plastic, he's a spaceship. Hollow, metal, inhuman, always traveling forward.
I tried to figure out what kinds of activities matched best with this album, so I tried browsing the Craigslist "best of" section. This proved a very good match for the music; the weirdness of humanity was an accompaniment that worked. I found an advertisement for handmade custom chicken diapers in Portland, Oregon (duh). Another person was selling an electric rock, and another one was doing an experiment to see if women grow beards if they shave their faces. Plastikman beep-swish-blorp-ntsk'ed.
But at some point I needed less humanity. This is music for cold minds, hollowness, the vastness of cold black space. I tried online comparison-shopping for garbage cans, but that was a sucky accompaniment to P'man. So was Minesweeper, which I found surprising. (The clicking tempo was just off; I can't minesweep that fast.)
Dave Segal says it's good running music, but I don't know if that counts because he listens to music every second and he runs everywhere he goes. Kelly O, who says Plastikman is from Detroit just like her [Actually, he's from Windsor, Canada, across the river from Detroit. —Segal], says she listened to it while painting her apartment one time. She also recommends it for Rollerblading. YEAH! LET'S DO IT!
I give this "Rollerblading in spaaaaaaaace" out of 10.