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Review: Robert Hood Chases Dark Dancefloor Bliss on His New ‘Dj Kicks’ Mix

Detroit EDM swami confirms his bonafides on a master mix of old and new.

Robert Hood, 2018

Robert Hood, 2018

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As a founding member of the pioneering Underground Resistance crew, Robert Hood is Detroit techno royalty, and thus, by definition, an EDM architect emeritus. His beats are so sublime, jazz composer Vijay Iyer wrote a tribute to him (see “Hood”). This hour-plus mix in the DJ Kicks series – dependably-curated by the Berlin-based !K7 label for nearly 25 years now – shows Hood remains a master of darkly minimalist dancefloor bliss. Compared to the bullet-train rub and tug of modern big-box EDM, this music is a tantric escalator, with tiered builds and rolls climbing stealthily and peaks that reveal themselves like mountain-tops from cloud cover.

And so it goes here, Hood shuffling his own jams with those of younger peers. Its ecstatic crescendos really start pumping around the 50 minute mark, by which time they feel fully earned, arriving with Adrian Hour’s tech-housey “Make You Feel Good,” pitched up for good measure, and wrapping up with the helium snares of Matrixxman’s “Protocol,” which send the mix into the dawn’s early light. It’s a fantastic denouement. But as with all great dance music, this set is more about the journey than the destination.

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