Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

Richie Hawtin and The End Of Time

Techno and time combined by filmmaker Peter Mettler.

Mon, Nov 4, 2013, 12:40


I saw The End Of Time last night, Peter Mettler‘s film about time as told through weather patterns, volcanos, Buddhism, death, nature, techno, decay, Detroit, the Large Hadron Collider, and more. It’s a fascinating film that occasionally evokes Ron Fricke, but Mettler also has a totally individual style, exploring themes in a way that initially seems abstract, but is actually very precise.

I moderated the post-screening panel afterwards as part of the UCD Science Expression, with Peter Mettler, Prof Chris Bean, Dr Ronan McNulty and Michael McDermott, and during that discussion and over the course of the rest of the evening, I chatted to Mettler about his inclusion of Richie Hawtin in the film, exploring time through techno, its origins in Detroit which is in the middle of both an era of decay and potential, and the singularity Hawtin believes experiencing techno is capable of reaching.

Mettler filmed Hawtin’s Plastikman Live show in Detroit in 2010 (more about that show here) and has finished making what will essentially be a multi-camera techno concert film presenting Hawtin’s music and live creations as well as the stunning design of that particular production, in what sounds like a really cool way. The Quietus has an interesting interview with Hawtin from that year.

Until that’s available to watch, here’ the trailer for The End Of Time.

I always feel that in order to really understand music you need to go to its root. Going to Iceland last year made me completely understand Icelandic music, particularly Bjork’s ‘Biophilia’ record. Being in Detroit for less than 24 hours earlier this year, I felt techno more just seeing the city firsthand. Mettler said driving around Detroit listening to techno makes sense. And it does. The industrial decay, the space between streets and lots and buildings, the darkness and spookiness of smoke and steam emerging from the asphalt, the dimly lit streets, the feeling of emptiness but also an undeniable sense of things happening below the surface. It’s similar to how I feel that house music makes sense in New York, even though it originated in Chicago, because of the grid system of the streets, the urban layout almost mimicking a four to the floor beat. None of that probably makes scientific sense, but I do think that music can sound like a place.