- The Bristol artist's first LP reveals subtle depths to his sound.
- Hodge has always been reasonably versatile in terms of genre, even on his EPs. But the real success of his debut album is the bird's-eye view it gives of his palette. Shadows In Blue feels like the end result of a decade of experimenting in a variety of genres and moods, pulling them apart and making them his own. It's a joy to sit back and listen as the edges of songs and rhythmic ideas bleed into one another, swiftly moving from musique concrète to heavily swung UK techno.
Shadows Of Blue shows how far Hodge's influences extend beyond the confines of electronic music. In its more contemplative moments you may hear the shifting minimalism of Steve Reich and Terry Riley, or traces of experimental Japanese artists like Midori Takada and Yasuaki Shimizu. At times, I hear Alice Coltrane's mysticism, and the melodies of baroque composers. There's a surprisingly organic quality to the record, both in its sound and how they're put together. These are textures we've heard him play with before, notably on his excellent collaborative EP with Laurel Halo, but here Hodge jumps in full throttle, not just nailing the balance between moments of hypnotic serenity and its dance floor highlights, but also in creating sonic themes that snake from song to song.
As an established artist within dance music, making your debut album poses a unique set of questions. What's your objective in moving on from the EP format? Are you looking to further develop your artistry? Are you doing it for your fans, who love you for your club bangers, or are you doing it to perhaps earn some new ones? You might end up making an LP of dance floor weapons, or you might go more ambient. Maybe you'll try and do both, slipping more experimental excursions between four-to-the-floor slammers. I would have been happy with any of these routes from Hodge. Instead, we got an album that does all of them and more.
01. Canopy Shy
02. The World Is New Again
03. Sense Inversion
04. Shadows In Blue
09. Ghost Of Akina (Rainbow Edition)
10. One Last Dance