Robert Hood, Alpha/The Family


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The last time one of Robert Hood’s tracks was remixed, the result was a disaster. Somehow, Freak’n’Chic managed to persuade the Detroit producer to let Shonky loose on “Who Taught You Math,” originally issued on Peacefrog on 2002. Unsurprisingly, the “if it ain’t broken don’t fix it” maxim never sounded more apt. This time, Hood’s M-Plant has done the recruiting, and rather wisely has selected James Ruskin to rework “Alpha,” the first single from Hood’s recent Omega album. Given Ruskin’s place at the forefront of white-knuckle techno for the past 15 years, this interpretation seems more subdued or muted than is his usual approach. Could it be that the UK producer was mindful of the task at hand and decided to play it safe? It’s hard to imagine someone of Ruskin’s caliber making such a compromise and anyway, it would be difficult to make the original’s stomping drums sound more intense.

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While Ruskin’s version also features grainy drums, they are more understated and do not leap out at the listener like Hood’s arrangement. That’s not to suggest this remix doesn’t bring with it dance floor clout: the beats, though slower and less insistent, provide ample space for Ruskin to create an intensely-woven wall of spiky, metallic percussion and even add in some vocals, albeit ones that are muffled and remain in the background. Ruskin’s remix isn’t the only reason to check this release: Hood has a habit of making inspired use of B-sides — “Wandering Aimlessly,” anyone? — and this is one such occasion. “The Family” is vintage dance floor Hood, with a visceral, spiny rhythm soaring onwards and upwards, tempered only by thunderous claps. “Family” is worth the price alone of this release, but it is also worth acquiring to hear just how good Hood can sound when the remix job is placed in the right set of studio hands.

Buds  on March 24, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Vocals? What vocals? The one’s in your head? Acid vocals? I heard no vocals.

richard  on March 25, 2011 at 8:19 AM

check between 1.06 and 1.30 approximately and there is a muffled vocal saying ‘dug duh’ (or something like that). low in the mix but it’s there…

Buds  on March 25, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Yeah, it’s not a vocal, it’s a synth you’re hearing.

Brophy  on March 25, 2011 at 12:25 PM

sounds like a vocal to me!

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