Consumed in Key - Plastikman and Chilly Gonzales (Album Review)

Consumed in Key - Plastikman and Chilly Gonzales

In 1998 Richie Hawtin, aka Plastikman, released Consumed, an IDM album that is widely considered to be his defining work and which the New York Times said was too tense to be considered New Age; they are/were right. Consumed In Key is a collaboration between Hawtin and veteran Canadian polymath Chilly Gonzales that reimagines the original 1998 album. 

Gonzales' gentle and mysterious playing has given the album a lovely, neoclassical feel. Yet not even the piano, ubiquitous in the New Age genre, can make this music any less tense. The same hypnotic feeling is there. If anything, the music has moved further away from the confines of genre. The tracks' speed and rate have altered, and the original mix has been stretched out. It sometimes feels like you're listening to nothing, an empty room. Other times are viscerally decadent.  

Opener "Contain (in Key)" is led by heavily reverberated and ephemeral drums, a twisted and repetitive bass line, and a friendly piano roll playing throughout. "Consume" (In Key)" follows the same formula but becomes more danceable in its pulsing piano and snappy snare hits. Cor Ten (In Key) is wonderfully minimal and dark. What starts as sounding like a bumblebee buzz outside of a nightclub slowly mutates with rhythmic repetition into something blooming, strikes of piano sounding like flowers being picked. "Locomotion (In Key)" sees a two-note piano jackhammer over the bouncy bass and matchstick ignition snare hits. Elsewhere on In Side (In Key), what sounds like a children's plastic piano, plays a stunted melody before entering into a gorgeous motif as Hawtin's minimal techno emerges behind it.  

Some things are better left untouched. A dash of too much white wine can ruin the sauce. Nevertheless, Consumed in Key is an achievement in recorded music that manages to feel both relevant and unnecessary. The original album was excellent, and listening to this transformed version can feel like a betrayal of the 1998 original, like getting a new smartphone you didn't really need. That being said, original album put aside and taken on its own merits, this is a transformative and emotive listen from start to finish. 



  1. Contain (In Key) 08:08

  2. Consume (In Key) 11:15

  3. Passage In (In Key) 01:04

  4. Cor Ten (In Key) 06:28

  5. Ekko (In Key) 04:11

  6. Converge (In Key) 04:05

  7. Locomotion (In Key) 08:37

  8. In Side (In Key) 11:25

  9. Consumed (In Key) 11:34

  10. Passage Out (In Key) 03:08

Consumed in Key - Plastikman and Chilly Gonzales (Album Review)
Reviewed by Jay Honeycomb on April 4th 2022
Rating: 4