So this is how it went: Robert Hood returned to Movement in May, dropped the remixes of the best track on the debut Floorplan album, Paradise, the week of, and then backslapped the masses with two more releases in quick succession for the 20th anniversary of M-Plant. Many producers do that these days, but they’re not Robert Hood, a man who has become, two decades after Internal Empire and Minimal Nation grasped the current of electronic music and channeled it in a new direction of his choosing, one of the most prolific artists of our era, in any medium.
This is a power he celebrates in “Never Grow Old” from Paradise. Are you a believer? Hood is, and this is testimony of a sort that rarely makes the rounds in our brave new world of atomized individuals pretending to be corporations and an A&R business that takes place in the afterhours, after the real, paying business of gigs and flights has taken place. Who has time to share a song of faith when you have bills to pay?
The second release sees Hood revisit 1994’s “Protein Valve”. Much Minimal Techno after it has been virtually indistinguishable from DJ tools – pre-packaged strings of beats that had little use except playing them with other minimal records. “Edit 1” of “Protein Valve” in particular – the only word I can come up with here, and with many other Hood records, is “driving”. They do things. The record evolves. They’re taking you someplace and you’re coming along and it’s not in the navel of a man named Dieter.
I think I read it on a bumper sticker: Art isn’t finished when there’s nothing else to add, but when there’s nothing else you can take away. That’s minimalism in the visual arts. In music, it’s Monobox, Hood’s future-facing project he’s brought back from the retro-futurist graveyards with a new two track EP. “Film” and “Rectangle” get under your skin, they worm around your platelets and hide like some sort of harmless but animated passenger virus.
Robert Hood is a modest man and he’s not standing in the spotlight because he feels comfortable there. Interviews, people shoving iPhones in his face and the trappings of the music industry that some people believe are the entire point – these are things he tolerates because his message is that important, it’s that vital to get these things in front of people. We’re seeing an artist, a defining artist of his time, in full flower. Take it for granted at your own risk.