Heavyweight, desolate interpretations of house await in this latest offering from Bristol’s elusive Hodge. Dusted sees the light of day on London’s Deadplate records, whose output so far has stuck to a straightforward, punchy aesthetic, a no nonsense approach with special attention on the dark and musty dance floor. This EP follows suit, combining the energy and tenacity of house music with the bludgeoning weight that dubstep offers, a formula explored elsewhere by shadowy outfit Akkord and newcomer Beneath, among others.
Opener ‘Tonda’ is an exercise in controlled restraint. It’s sound is composed from a dulled techno backdrop, with imploding bass stabs interrupting the chasm of space and relentless sub bass underneath it all. It’s a patient beast, however, easing into itself over 2-and-a-half- minutes before Hodge allows it to spill over into near-chaos. The control and characterisation of Hodges sound is what is most striking throughout the release. A meditative quality arises through title track ‘Dusted’ – the metronomic tendencies of the isolated synth notes that blot the surface of the track, and the waves of uneasy atmospherics create a hypnotic lull that betrays the listener when the sharp claps kick in.
‘Turmoil’ injects a noticeable swing into proceedings, the move into 2-step territory a welcome switch from the claustrophobic nature of the previous tracks. A track that could have easily come out of the early 00’s, it’s a colourful approach by the EPs standard, and one that benefits from Hodge’s keen attention to subtle tension building and structure. Kowton’s remix, meanwhile opens and explores the spaciousness that the original teases at, the fellow Bristolian unleashing waves of lush synth notes that wash over the percussion and bring a suitably abstract approach. It’s a smart and solid release, one offers further inspiration and exploration in a corner of music that has yet to fully form.