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Robert Hood – Omega review

It’s a sad but true fact that original pioneers of any art form often age badly, softening up as they engage less and less inquisitively with the world around them or, worse, get stuck treading the same water they did 15 years ago to much lesser effect. In light of him re-releasing super influential work Minimal Nation last year, then, you may wish to level that criticism at Robert Hood. But don’t, or at least not until you’ve checked Omega.

A concept album which aims to soundtrack the 1971 film The Omega Man which haunted Hood as a child, Omega is an edgy, anxious record which ably mirrors the dread filled world you may more likely recognise from the recent remake, I am Legend, starring Will Smith. Hood, then, is far from resting on his laurels, and instead is as embroiled as ever in his art.

From shadowy, glitchy depictions of being chased through a dark, derelict city (‘The Workers of Iniquity’) to paranoid, frenzied and disorientating cuts like ‘Saved by the Fire’ via the spaceship take-offs, broken beats and trademark snappy snares of ‘The Wheels of Escape’ or the eerie, suspended tension of recent single ‘Omega (End Times)’ you can’t help but get emotionally entangled in this album as it plays out. Be it anger, anticipation, optimism, remorse or whatever else you feel, you feel it alone: there’s an overriding sense of isolation to the headspaces you occupy, you’re senses are heightened and you’re alert to the every twitch and hiss Hood cares to scatter into the mix.

Of course, Omega must be digested whole for maximum effect. But equally, heads down techno hustles like the nervy ‘Think Fast’ beg to be played loud; in a pitch-black, sweaty club; somewhere free from distraction. Wherever you hear these dark, prophetic sounds, though, they never fail to monopolize your mind.

Review: Kristan J Caryl