ROBERT HOOD with DERRICK RAMIREZ , RAUL VARGAS , SARA SCRUTON , FELIX & GANI at Footwork (425 Adelaide West), Saturday (January 21). $10 before 11 pm, more after. www.kickmagazine.ca. Rating: NNNNN
Detroit DJs tend to be stereotyped as difficult. Granted, this may have a lot to do with the racism of the European scene, where black American DJs are revered for their authenticity but exoticized and feared at the same time.
It may also be a result of the dismay the originators of techno feel about the rave scene's appropriation of their sound and the way the fun-fur and candy set drastically redefined what their music was about.
Maybe that explains why an unreasonably large percentage of NOW interviews with Detroit legends have fallen through at the last minute, most recently with Robert Hood, a reclusive producer considered by many the father of minimal techno, a subset of the genre that's had a considerable impact both in Europe and Toronto over the past decade.
Hood emerged as part of the second wave of Detroit techno, and was initially known as the Information Minister of Underground Resistance, the hugely influential collective that defined Detroit techno in the 90s. Hood, however, left UR in 1992 with Jeff Mills, and went on to set up his own label, M-Plant, in 1994. His taut, sparse synth-and-percussion loops stood out in stark contrast to the increasingly bombastic and overblown sounds taking over rave. While he admits to being a loner, the rest of the world was listening, and his stripped- down style inspired producers everywhere to embrace the less-is-more ideology.
The past few years have seen him infuse more musicality and melody in his tracks, but the actual sound hasn't changed much. That's likely a result of his insistence on using actual hardware, rather than switching to software like everybody else.
It's kind of an odd position for a futurist to take, but Hood has always been known for standing apart from the crowd. He has rarely engaged in collaborations, and he's been quite critical of icons like Carl Craig and Sven Vath in past interviews.
Come to think of it, that might be why he's dodging this one.
Hopefully, he's MIA because he's busy making music, as we're overdue for new Robert Hood releases.