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robert hood - Minimal Nation
This album is one of the most cherished and influential pieces of electronic composition in the history of recorded music. Upon its release in 1994 it sounded like little that had come before it, taking the first wave influences of tracky Chicago boxjams and Detroit funk-finesse before gutting them and fitting them out with a shiny new Detroit motor that clicked and whirred with a well tuned German efficiency but funked like an Afro-American. Henrik Schwarz's recent 'Grandfather Paradox' mix sets Hood's classic 'Minus' alongside other legendary minimalists like Conrad Schnitzler and Steve Reich which is very fair, but Hood's minimalism is more about funk than any academic ambitions. He knew that subtle shifts in rhythm pattern and simple hints of melody were enough to create a devastating groove without going over the top into rock style bombast that a lot of techno of the time was verging on. His tracks worked more like a circle of African drummers setting a pace and introducing repetitive phrases intuitively rather than a group of blokes with noisy machines trying to make everyone submit to their funk. This album is the perfect showcase of this restraint and innately considered organisation with the majestic 'Museum' using only maybe 3-4 individual sounds to drive dancers into a frenzy or the teased elements of 'Unix' circling each other to release small but powerful fillips of funk energy for the floor. 'Minimal Nation' is a masterclass in Detroit Future Funk, engineered by a unique mind that will continue to be copied but seldom beaten. Absolutely Essential!