Richie Hawtin awarded key to home town

In a highly symbolic act that demonstrates just how far the once outlaw world of dance music has entered mainstream consciousness, techno pioneer and legend, Richie Hawtin was yesterday awarded the key to his home city of Windsor, Ontario.

As a seminal figure in the second wave of Detroit techno and following in the footsteps of artists like Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson, Hawtin set new standards in the futuristic fusion of electronic synthesis and subliminal creativity. In a career spanning over twenty years, he has consistently pushed the barriers of live performance, embracing technological advances with diamond drilled precision and riding the line between mathematical exactitude and subconscious artistic flow.

Famous for his penetrating minimal soundscapes, Hawtin is extraordinarily prolific, with streams of releases over the years and a punishing tour schedule. Finishing up another epic season in Ibiza this year, he embarked on the CNTRL tour. With mainstream America suddenly discovering electronic music in such overwhelming fashion, he and a select group of frequency heavyweights are seeking to move beyond the EDM moniker and the showbiz razzmatazz that it implies for the stadium rave generation. The CNTRL tour incorporates a series of lectures about the history of electronic music and aims to illuminate the technological possibilities through demonstrations and talks on university campuses before the party begins.

Windsor’s mayor, Eddie Francis presented Hawtin with the honour yesterday at a ceremony covered by local paper, the Windsor Star. Following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Bill Clinton in accepting the award, Hawtin said “Getting an award like that from the city is important to me. But maybe it’s even more important for the next generation to see that this is a true art form”

Twenty years ago Hawtin was in the authorities crosshairs, and ‘rave’ culture was pressing the moral panic button as politicians fell over themselves to predict the demise of youths sucked into a debauched, otherworldly morass. And here we are today, with a figure like Richie Hawtin being recognised as an ambassador for the city and an inspiration to the next generation. All we can hope is that it wasn’t a bandwagon jump as electronic music underwrites the new sound of pop, but a genuine acknowledgment of a creative pioneer who to this day represents all that is pure about dance culture.

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