Tuesday, 23 March 2010


Robert Hood - Alpha / Omega (End Times), M-Plant

As the mist gathers density outside my window, the resolution of the world is reduced to a few essences of form. It seems somehow fitting that at this present moment, when I think I ought to have written something new for the Angle, that this visual reduction coincides with a remembrance of what minimal means to dance music. It's not bleeps, clicks and hisses repeated and looped in an endless layering of tired repetition. It's something more machinic. More reduced, yet so much more expanded.

Robert Hood's latest release on M-Plant Alpha launches into a unremittingly tough four-four beat. It holds this just slightly too long before snapping the synaptic response into gear with a tough clap and a gradually emerging, tightly looped, stuttering and analogue sounding clipped snare. Then it comes. The simplest, most basic high-hat cascades down on the beat and envelopes everything in a euphoric moment that is the sound of Ford's demise. The sound of the Motor City gone wrong. And this - this is the reduction.

The mist grows thicker. It's fog now and all I can see are the spherical glows of the street lamps. The form of light and technology. The minimalism of the city at night - reduced to it's essential format: Electricity, material and space. This is techno. This is minimal. 8 minutes 42 seconds. This is Robert Hood.

Omega (End Times) is destructive. A futurist-dystopian vision of decaying production lines and the repo-man. Toxic-debt amassing and Devil's Night hallucinations - Omega sounds like the hymn for a post-post-industrial, neo-apocalyptic city scape of empty chances and departed dreams. Equally, if not more, relentless in its pursuit of the absolute zero of Detroit-minimalism than Alpha, the cataclysm that is predicted in this track is epically dark. Spartan, stunningly-repetive and with a palette limited to four distinct sounds that are gradually modified and machined to a self-destructive peak, this piece of entropic programming goes nowhere. There's no redemption, only an onward march of unstoppable technology replicating itself ad-infinitum, resisted only through the homeopathic application of the same to cure the ill.


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