Floorplan, Phobia

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Robert Hood’s latest exercise under his Floorplan guise is among the best in a series whose unrelenting quality makes it difficult to pick favorites. Perhaps Detroit techno’s most deadly and prolific producer of the last 20 years has been using this recently revived alias, in his own words, to “lift people up.” Interestingly, the eponymous cut here, intense and tinged with malice, is rather closer to some of the harder points on the last LP under his own name, Motor: Nighttime World 3, than the bright and groovy house-and-disco-influenced techno that the Floorplan name has usually suggested since its resurgence in 2010.

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“Phobia” is filled with the dark, gleefully twisted energy that Hood whips up so effectively. His mastery of techno’s rhythms and workings creates an almost languid swing in the coercion of the kick drum by the juddering tentacles of synth. Combined with dexterously shuffling handclaps, this is a lithe, funky, supremely effective dancer’s rhythm, containing an infestation of itchy, minutely coordinated motion beneath the blood pulse: maggots dancing in the wound. Ben Sims’ remix of “Higher!” flatpacks the offbeat jive of the original; a skidding synth-loop scrapes the groove, perforated by drums. Using Hood’s sonic foundations, the UK producer has created a track that’s more sharp-edged and streamlined than much of his work — a welcome addition.

Finally, “Glory B” brings back the gospel theme familiar from Floorplan titles like 2012’s Sanctified EP and tracks like “Confess” and the awesome “We Magnify His Name.” With preacher-man exaltations of Jesus Christ rasping through the pressurized rhythms, frozen in a state of extreme tension, it’s a dramatic set-ender, with wide-screen synths shining in your eyes, dilating your pupils, and grand strings looping round and round in total suspense. At the same time, this is one of those tracks whose sequencing and progression contain the deliberate rigidity Hood’s prone too, which though somehow difficult, is part of the appeal. His intention with his religious imagery is both aesthetic and sincerely ideological; he said in an interview with The Fader recently, “My thing is bringing the church to the club.” His success at introducing the voices and images of Christianity so explicitly to techno — so often a cold and pagan world — is miraculous in itself.

Veronica  on December 4, 2013 at 1:24 AM

This is quite a weird read.

Sioned Morgan  on December 4, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Niiiiiiice Robert! Great review, Gwyn.

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