Robert Hood is back with a new album that fires directly at his Detroit techno roots, serving as an evolved sequel to his iconic 1994 groundbreaker, Minimal Nation.
Unlike most examples of a “back to basics” album, this one hits just as hard as its inspiration, textured with two decades of stylistic evolution. Far beyond a throwback album, Paradygm Shift is a deep genre exploration, coloring the darkest corners of pure techno, highlighting the fresh pleasures this genre still has to offer.
Paradygm Shift is, true to its name, a hard swerve from the sprawling, funk-infused narrative of Hood’s last album, 2012’s Motor: Nighttime World 3. Where that set infused its vast running time with jazz-damaged atmospheres and dark electro workouts, the new album finds bliss in strict adherence to the structure and form of traditional hard-edged techno.
In a way, it shows how much wiggle room can be carved out within strict genre boundaries.
Warm tones, hard beats, ceaseless rhythm. Relentless stuff. It’s techno for genre heads, sure, but still accessible in a way most deep-dive sets don’t bother with. The textures in particular bring an inviting surface at first glance, urging the listener further in. After a couple tracks, it’s impossible to see any way out; this is the kind of music designed for concentrated listening and nothing else, really. Casual background listens at low volume will not suffice.
The most intriguing thing about this new release, to me, was the fact that it comes on Dekmantel, one of the greatest modern techno labels in the world. They’ve dropped instant classics from Randomer, Young Marco, Central, and several others in the last year alone. In fact, at this point seeing the label on an album release is a virtual guarantee of quality and creativity. For the most part, I was finding new artists thanks to the label’s UFO EP series, so it was a massive surprise to see a literal legend like Robert Hood pop up on the schedule.
I originally wrote this post months ago, but life got in the way. My son was born and I was completely swept up in the torrent of fatherhood. It’s a good thing, to be sure, but I missed out on the discussion for many fine music releases. So I wanted to make sure my thoughts on this album were out there before moving on. This is a straightforward shot of pure Detroit techno bliss that fans of the genre will not want to miss. I hope by now that all the Hood fans have heard it, at least.
You can buy the album digitally or on 2LP vinyl right from the Dekmantel shop.