Review: The last commercial mix that Robert Hood did back in 2008 for Fabric re-ignited his career. Appearing at the tail end of minimalism, its hard-edged sounds provided a welcome relief to the prevailing sound. A decade on, the 66th DJ Kicks finds the Detroit artist once again in firing form. "Focus" signals his intent with its massive siren riff and pounding drums, while "Clocks", which builds and builds to electronic bee swarms, shows that he has lost none of his minimal techno firepower. Sure, there are other fine contributions, like Truncate's sheet metal banger "Terminal 5" and the shadowy riffs of Marcel Fengler's "Thwack" - itself a paean to Dr Motte's "Der Klang Der Familie" - but like the Fabric selection, this instalment of DJ Kicks is all about Robert Hood.
Review: The recruitment of Robert Hood is a sign of Dekmantel's growing stature as a label. The Detroit legend has agreed to release a trio of EPs and an album under the Paradigm Shift banner, a project title designed to reflect the producer's desire to see great change within dance music. This first EP is classic Hood, with A-side "Form" - all effects-laden drums, looped-up textures, hissing cymbals and cacophonous kick-drums - sounding like no-one else. Flipside "Lockers" follows a similar script, though there's a little more house-influenced funk to the relentless beats, while Hood's use of starburst riffs and classic Motor City electronics adds a sense of far-sighted adventure..
Review: It's hard to believe that Soma has reached its 500th release. Slam started the label to provide a platform for the earliest house and techno strains coming from Glasgow during the early 90s. In the intervening years it has helped launch a number of careers - including a French duo called Daft Punk - and has become one of the great and most consistent underground labels. So what does its 500th release sound like? Unsurprisingly, it is still guided by the same principles that inspired the label's foundation. Slam take on Rob Hood's "The Bond We Formed" and deliver two versions. The former is a killer big room workout, while the "S25 Retro Fit" rework is reminiscent of the pair's earlier work, a jacking rhythm propelling a dark, filtered organ riff into oblivion. There is also a Slam rework of Carl Craig's classic remix of Gavin Russom and Delia Gonzalez' "Relevee", with the Soma bosses adding some steely drum muscle to the original interpretation. Here's to 500 more releases.