- As the name suggests, Floorplan has but one aim: Robert Hood's side-project is all about durable DJ tools, 4 AM bangers, incendiary floor-ready bombs. In a way these functional tracks don't really do much. They're tense, claustrophobic, self-contained units, galloping loop-based constructs that build and evolve through a series of microscopic changes over six to eight minutes. Nor are they particularly innovative, either in concept or in execution. You could trace the lineage of such tough, repetitive house music back to the original UK hard house of X-press 2 or even classic Detroit techno. The euphoric drum fills that create bursts of acceleration on "Let's Ride" could have been lifted from many old Chicago house tracks. Yet, having said all that, there is real freshness and vigour to Paradise, Hood's first full-length as Floorplan.
Like Mr G, who trades in similarly heavy, loopy material, Hood brings an analogue warmth to his tracks that's deeply seductive. These songs bristle and bounce with irrepressible energy in an almost ghettotech way. Given Hood's readiness to deploy some darkness on his house tunes, it's little wonder that Ben Klock loves this stuff—he used two of these tracks on his fabric mix.
Given all that, it's surprising how well these productions hang together as an album. Despite their repetitiveness, there is real tonal variety here. The punishing techno of "Altered Ego" is very different to the neo-piano house of "Confess," which is totally different to "Never Grow Old." The latter, a real stand-out, is all lilting, jazzy keys, dusty vinyl crackle and lung-busting, uproarious gospel samples—like Moodymann on overdrive.
It's more than just colour, though. At home, headphones clamped on, with Hood's every shift in tone, arrangement and tempo clearly audible, these tracks become something concentrated and vivid. You're drawn in by a minimalist master at work, to the point where, to take "Baby Baby" as an example, the return of a beat, a staccato burst of funk guitar or a truncated surge of brass, become thrilling, seismic events.
01. Let's Ride
02. Baby Baby
04. Altered Ego
05. Never Grow Old
09. Chord Principle
10. Above The Clouds