Richie Hawtin wants you to explore his DJ sets through a mobile app

Closer shows just how the minimal techno artist mixes his tracks.

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Hutton Supancic/Getty Images for SXSW
Hutton Supancic/Getty Images for SXSW

Have you ever wanted to know exactly what DJs are doing during sets besides cuing the next track? You now have a good opportunity to find out. Minimal techno pioneer Richie Hawtin (aka Plastikman, F.U.S.E. and other pseudonyms) has released a Closer app in beta for Android and iOS that goes well beyond the usual concert footage. You can switch between multiple camera angles and track audio layers to see exactly how Hawtin puts together a set using all his on-stage equipment. If you want to know how he put together a killer synth sequence, you can mute everything else and switch to a view to see Hawtin's fingers fly over the controls.

As Hawtin explained to The Verge, the app is the result of a years-long process that culminated in the 2017 debut of his CLOSE show, which uses overhead cameras to record Hawtin's mixers and modules. That results in massive downloads (you're grabbing multiple video feeds and layered audio tracks), but it also lets you dissect live electronic music in a way that just isn't feasible with your typical video.

The aim is both to shake up the definition of a concert video and, more importantly, to shed light on what DJing is like for a hands-on artist like Hawtin. Closer turns a seemingly mysterious process into something very transparent, where you know the knobs he turned and faders he pushed. While it probably won't inspire you to become a DJ, it could give you a better appreciation for dance music than you'd get by standing in the crowd.

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