FACT mix 170 is by Robert Hood.
One of techno’s most revered figures, the Detroit-hailing producer co-founded Underground Resistance with Mad Mike Banks and Jeff Mills (he was their self-proclaimed “Minister of Information”) before embarking on a solo career that has expanded – through a studious, near-spiritual process of refinement – the very language of electronic dance music.
Hood left Detroit in 1992. Having previously set up the Hardwax label as a platform for raw, expansive productions from himself and Claude Young, by ’94 he was moved to inaugurate a new imprint, M-Plant, to showcase his increasingly streamlined sound. So began arguably the most illustrious phase of Hood’s career, with a steady flow of landmark releases under his own name and aliases including The Vision, Mathematic Assassins and Floorplan (the latter’s pistoning disco bomb ‘Funky Souls’ was recently reissued by Rush Hour). This surge of creativity culminated in Minimal Nation.
The record that birthed an entire techno aesthetic, Minimal Nation is Hood’s most famous excursion into heads-down motor-funk. The etching on the original Axis pressing of the record reads ‘Music for the progressive’; sixteen years on and that assertion seems no less valid. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine Minimal Nation will ever date.
Why exactly is Hood’s music so future-proof? Perhaps it has something to do with its purity: from an early point in his career, this preternaturally thoughtful man was determined to home in on the essence of techno, to strip away everything extraneous. For Hood, minimalism wasn’t just a gesture, it had a personal and a political resonance as well: “It’s a direct reflection of the way the world is going. We’re stripping down and realizing that we need to focus on what’s essential in our lives.”
There’s much more to Hood’s career than Minimal Nation, though – from early classics like ‘Internal Empire’ to more recent LPs like Point Blank and Wire To Wire. For a more detailed insight into his discography, check out The Essential..Robert Hood by Ruaridh Law.
This year saw the release of Omega, a brand new artist album from Hood inspired by apocalyptic sci-fi movie The Omega Man (1976) – he told us all about the album and its motivations in this interview. The album launch party took place at NITSA in Barcelona during Sonar week, and Hood has granted us permission to use a recording of his set that night as his FACT mix. It’s the perfect way to experience Hood’s hypnotic, remorselessly industrial sound – live, direct, feeding off the dancefloor’s energy. Oh, and a you get a great hoary-voiced intro from Detroit Grand Pubahs’ Paris.
(Available for three weeks)