- In 1975, Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt published a deck of cards designed to help artists untangle creative knots. Each one contained advice such as "Listen to the quiet voice," "Simple subtraction," "Be dirty," "Ask your body." These "Oblique Strategies" encouraged self-examination, and perhaps "Never Grow Old," the Floorplan hit of 2013, did the same for Robert Hood. On Paradygm Shift Vol. 2, Hood fights the rhythms of his own making, which had been sliding away from the minimalism he's known for. The compelling Motor: Nighttime World 3 album was evidence of that move—an electronic opera next to the Spartan threads of Minimal Nation.
One quality that Paradygm Shift Vol. 2 shares with its predecessor, other than a back-to-basics approach, is a gravitational density. The songs seem compressed by an unseen weight, enhancing an intensity that Hood manipulates with subtle rhythmic tricks and tone modulations. On "Magnet," the mutations of a single note demonstrate Hood's ease with repetition. It ascends on the same gentle gradient as "Forms" and "Lockers" before it, but if "Master Jack" is any measure, the Paradygm Shift series has room for tracks that rush in the opposite direction. "Master Jack" is an avalanche, a volcanic eruption, a meteorite—an awe-inspiring force of nature. But it could've been improved with one of Eno's strategies. The camera shutter claps rattle unnecessarily, like Hood might be in the process of re-learning that less is more.
A Master Jack