In an era where credit is rarely given when due, a lot of today's so-called "minimal" enthusiasts may not actually be familiar with its creator: it's near impossible to find anyone who can rival the magnificence and innovation of Robert Hood. With an absolute, visionary state of mind, Hood has been one of the most extraordinary and forward-thinking artists in the history of techno. He's regarded by some of the biggest names in electronic music as being one of the founding fathers of techno's development, yet some of the newer faces to minimal are none the wiser.
Raised primarily on Motown in Detroit, Robert Hood's family was enveloped in music: his mother recorded a 45' locally, his uncle managed jazz and R&B bands, his grandmother's first cousin was Berry Gordy, his father was a jazz musician (piano, drums, and trumpet). Robert followed his father's footsteps at a young age, picking up trumpet in the school band. But, distracted by youth, it wasn't long before he swapped the trumpet for vinyl, obsessively focussing on the arrangements, musicality and instrumentation of the records he cherished. His zealous interest in production guided him to a pawn shop, where he picked up some basic equipment and began recording demos. Unable to find someone able to do "some kind of political abstract MCing - a cross between Chuck D and Q-Tip," Robert laid down his own lyrics on his productions. Eventually, a fortuitous introduction to a well-connected musician, Mike Clark (a.k.a. Agent X), led to him eventually pass on a demo to a key player in underground Detroit, Mike Banks. Instantly enamoured with his lyrical styling, Mike Banks and Jeff Mills took Robert on board as an MC for 2 tracks on a compilation they were putting together. As Robert's productions grew stronger, the incomparable Underground Resistance crew formed, putting political outrage to an experimental beat, and Robert found his place as a seminal member, the "Minister of Information." With UR, Robert forged a path for himself, creating a simple yet powerful sound that fully encompassed the Detroit ethos, but also pushed unparalleled levels of imagination.
"A set from fabric is the only way I want to go. This mix has to be about the club. I'd like it to be dancefloor orientated and to take the listener on a trip. Any project I do, I like to read like a book. I like it to tell a story, you know? Not to just be random songs or tracks. I t has to have continuity to take you on a ride. It should have a concept and be able to translate and read as such. The DJ mix will be enhanced with live elements added to the mix. The live elements are just tracks or patterns, rhythm patterns that will be exclusive to the CD."
It's no wonder Robert Hood is so easily able to see music as an art form, being a visual artist himself (Robert is also an illustrator, creating pencil, charcoal and graphite renderings). On fabric 39, he wondrously illustrates emotive, scenic and rippling pictures through layered, hypnotic techno blends. The no-nonsense, trend- defying mix doesn't timidly tiptoe around the obvious; it boldly stomps right through the unfamiliar and unforeseen. Fabric 39 stands equidistant between extremes - yin and yang, head and feet, up and down, black and white - indeed, that "grey area" embodied to disc. It is simplified, intelligent music that moves and challenges at a fast, unrelenting pace, imaginatively mimicking the feeling of Detroit itself in all its industrial glory. Robert Hood takes stripped-back minimalism and sets beauty to a beat, pours emotions through hi-hats, sings with undulating rhythms and gives machines a tangible feeling of humanity.