Published Dec 09, 2014Spread out over three albums, Robert Hood's M-Plant retrospective is a testament to the producer's impact on the trajectory of techno, while also highlighting the timeless quality that many of his productions have taken on over the years.
Known for fusing a sparse approach to production with Detroit's underlying soulful tendencies long before it was fashionable elsewhere, Hood was interested in stretching the limits of the gear he was using and building tracks you could lose yourself in. From 1994's Minimal Nation and Internal Empire, cuts like "The Rhythm of Vision" and "Minus" were early proving grounds for Hood, quickly re-establishing his reputation as one of Detroit's techno soldiers after leaving Underground Resistance (UR) to focus on his own career. Drawing influence from the jazz and Motown records of his youth, Hood's emphasis on the drums, particularly hi-hats, would become one of his calling cards. Raw, hypnotic and concise in execution, Hood's version of Detroit techno built on the early strains coming out of the Motor City and still resonates on the dance floor today.
While the first disc looks at M-Plant's output from 1994-2001, the second album incorporates a more recent look at the label and Hood's production. Alongside his recently revived Floorplan alias, which incorporates gospel, soul and Detroit-flavoured house sensibilities, tracks like 2010's "Power to the Prophet" mark a shift in the Michigan native's production style and his increasing inclusion of his religious based outlook in his tracks. While it would be easy to dismiss the underlying messages in Hood's productions given the hedonistic nature of dance music culture, Floorplan's "Never Grow Old" is one of the producer's biggest songs to date, and has reintroduced him to a whole new audience.
On the third disc, Hood offers up two decades of remixes, edits and unreleased cuts, from 1994's "A.M. Track" to 2014's "Protein Valve 1." Although the compilation is primarily retrospective in nature, Hood has always been forward-focused, whether on his early influential EPs like Minimal Nation or his more recent Floorplan material. Although Hood could ride on the coattails of his back catalogue, it's apparent that isn't something he is interested in doing, as these past few years have seen his stock rise significantly thanks to his continued relevance as a producer and DJ. (M-Plant)