Robert Hood – Alpha (James Ruskin Remix) / The Family (M-Plant)

Following hot on the heels of last year’s blistering ‘Omega’, the hotly anticipated artist album that sent both critics and dancefloors into paroxysms of electronically induced rapture, minimal techno’s less than benign godfather Robert Hood returns with another weighty M-Plant release.

On the A-side, Blueprint founder and one of the UK’s principal exponents of purist minimal techno James Ruskin steps forward to remix ‘Alpha’, Hood’s barnstorming first single from the ‘Omega’ project, turning out a low-slung growler evoking blurry images of sweat drenched, no-frills, heads down warehouse business which does justice to both the essence of the original and his own irrefutable talent as a producer. Remixing some of the most refined and distinctive music (and a staple for almost every serious techno dj’s set) from the last year is a daunting task and Ruskin quite rightly leaves much of the original in place, hauling up the rhythmic elements, cracking the highly polished sonic veneer in places and dragging the bassline around the block a few times to rough it up but managing to stay true to the naked aggression and energy that define this version’s foundations.

Naked aggression leads us neatly to the B-side, Hood’s own ‘The Family’, a frantic synth-funk onslaught that encapsulates his meticulous approach to drawing the soul from the machine. Layering a dense, mutating chord rhythm over typically tight, insistent beats, this is a track that picks you up by the throat, pulls you up close and tells you in no uncertain terms that you’d better start dancing if you know what’s good for you and, as a crucial pounding woodblock element twists its way into the listeners consciousness, the threat needs no repetition.

With this release, Robert Hood proves that while he seems to be comfortably easing his way through a second decade of production, his material shows no signs of losing it’s potency or relevance to the wider electronic music community. The pioneering spirit and purity of message that propelled him to prominence in his early career shows no signs of diminishing.

Chris Lawes

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