- Humanity has always been obsessed with the end-times. At every point in history, it's felt like we're closer than ever to getting there. Cult after cult has opined that they're just around the corner. Literature, cinema and music have all chimed in as well. In 1954 Richard Matheson wrote I Am Legend, a book depicting the descent of civilization. The early '70s saw Charlton Heston starring in a movie based on the novel (The Omega Man). Now, in 2010, we have Robert Hood crafting a techno album inspired directly from both.
It's hard to believe that we're all going to die in 2012 because, well, we were all supposed to die a few times before. The threat of mass extinction makes for some great art, though. Unsurprisingly, it lends itself particularly well to the Detroit producer's fierce minimal techno. Charlton Heston's fragmented mindstate is perfectly soundtracked by the unrelenting beat, high-pitched strings and industrial detritus of "Alpha." The plainly titled "War in the Streets" is suitably apocalyptic as well, its beat tribal, its melody unhinged. "Are You God?" sounds celestial enough—for Hood, at least—to warrant the question.
It seems more productive, however, to leave aside the concept when listening to Omega, despite Hood's intentions. You can be sure that Hood will be able to tell you the exact meaning behind the cut-off beats in "The Workers of Iniquity" or the Morse Code bleeps of "The Family Watches," but you can also simply enjoy them for what they are: Further examples of Hood's mastery behind the mixing desk, concept or no concept. Hood thrives on using outside sources to push himself to greater heights in his work, but there's no pressing need to understand them to enjoy what's on offer.
Indeed, when thinking of Omega, Heston isn't the first person that comes to mind at all. For me, it's Hood's live set at this year's Movement, where his family members came on stage and danced joyously at the beginning of his performance for a few minutes while his dark, steely techno played over a booming soundsystem. At first, it seemed completely incongruous, ridiculous even. But in a way it made complete sense. All of the best art created around the idea of the end-times isn't depressing at all. It reminds us that we're still alive, able to dance, able to enjoy art, able to enjoy each other. And, for techno fans, Omega is nothing if not highly enjoyable.
01. Alpha (The Beginning)
02. The Plague (Cleansing Maneuvers)
03. Towns That Disappeared Completely
05. Think Fast
06. The Workers of Iniquity
07. Are You God?
08. The Family Watches
09. War in the Streets
10. Saved By The Fire
11. The Wheels of Escape
12. Omega (End Times)