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Robert Hood – The Greatest Dancer review

Is Robert Hood going through a reinvention process? Certainly on the evidence of his latest releases, the Detroit producer has moved away from his trademark, visceral minimalism. The recent Floorplan 12″ gave vent to his gospel influences and now this reissue of his 2001 release under his own name provides a reminder about Hood’s love of disco. There’s not much to the title track, yet this simplicity and clarity of sound is the same aesthetic that drove the original productions it is indebted to.

Over a rolling, housey groove, Hood adds in some sexy funk guitar, sprinkles it with sensuous strings and puts all of the ingredients into a filtered blender. Despite the use of filtering, it is to the Detroit producer’s credit that the track didn’t sound like the kind of cheap and nasty disco influences that swept through house and techno during the late 90s and early 00s. In fact, the arrangement retains the links to the crisp, punchiness of the 70s.

On “Dancer”, Hood’s approach is even more minimal and straightforward as a walking funk bass guitar is married to a series of claps. This combination runs the risk of sounding like a DFA release, but Hood isn’t finished. He adds sassy brass samples and a sexy female vocal, resulting in an arrangement that offers all of the sensuality of disco and the unflinching precision of his minimal techno productions. Call it a reinvention, a reassessment or Hood just reviving another golden moment from his rich catalogue, but Dancer offers an insight into another of this seminal producer’s influences.

Richard Brophy