Welcome to retro futurism, the debut studio long player by techno producer Richie Hawtin aged 22, which was first issued 1993 under the F.U.S.E. moniker, on Hawtin’s own Plus 8 Records imprint and again as the second release of Warp’s seminal ‘Artificial Intelligence’ series (of which Autechre, B12, Black Dog Productions, Speedy J and Artificial Intelligence I have also recently been reissued). Hawtin of course would spend the next three decades redefining electronic music via a series of projects and pseudonyms like Plastikman, F.U.S.E., Concept 1, Forcept 1, Circuit Breaker, Robotman, Chrome, Spark, Xenon, R.H.X., Jack Master, Richard Michaels and UP!
In 2023 it’s pretty difficult to conceptualise how revelatory Dimension Intrusion must have been in 1993, when the concept of electronic music listening in the home was still something of a novelty. For many of us though who were looking elsewhere back then, the opportunity to revisit such a seminal text is nothing short of a joy. It’s difficult not to be obsessed with Hawtin’s dark minimal acid worshipping Plastikman, and though you can hear traces of it in his debut missive, this is something very different. It’s ridiculous how it can still stand up some 30 years on – particularly given its influence on so much electronic music in the intervening years. The music is uniformly sparse and elongated, with tweaked acid, filtered synths and metronomic drum machines. It’s electronic hypnotism, and despite being created on what today would be considered rudimentary (yet pretty $$$$$) instruments, it possesses a unique power and ability to connect emotionally.
It’s really interesting to consider this in the context of 2023. Weirdly it still sounds like the future, perhaps a future primitive, or nostalgic future – a retro futurism. Yet despite his distinctive sound that really places Dimension Intrusion it in its time, it was ahead then and it still is now. There’s something so relentlessly focussed about this music, there is no fat, everything is perfectly positioned and executed. It’s ridiculous to consider that its maker was 22 at the time. In a way it’s this singular vision that continues to make Dimension Intrusion feel so vital and forward thinking both now and more than likely in another 30 years.
You can also check out our review of Dimension Intrusion on it’s 25th anniversary here.