A key figure in UK dance music, Hodge follows releases on labels such as Livity Sound, Berceuse Heroique and Peach Discs with his debut LP, ‘Shadows In Blue’. On this occasion, Hodge arrives at another electronic music institution, Houndstooth , a connection made following Hodge’s contribution to the 2018 compilation, ‘IDDK’. As rich and textured as anything that has gone before it, he delivers a full-length that arrives following a period of writing inspired by an unusual mix of sources; a newfound love of plants and gardening, reading science fiction, old prog-rock album covers and going to raves.
Much of ‘Shadows in Blue’ is awash in an earthy psychedelia. Tracks such as ‘Canopy Shy’, and ‘The World Is New Again’ shimmer with the sounds of birdsong, natural percussion and visions of a future in which nature has taken back an artificial world.
On ‘Lanacut’, Hodge works with a space echo to dub a percussive groove, sitting on top of a weighty sub to create the headsiest moment on the album. Elsewhere, ‘Sol’ works with his partner Emilie’s voice to create a tense and lush soundscape, signifying some of his most mature and illuminating work to date.
Make no mistake, however, in anticipating that the album writing has in any way impacted his nous for a ruthless dance floor rhythm. ‘Lanes’ entrances dancers with rolling bliss, tightly wound around flawless drum programming and a span of esoteric sound, whereas ‘Cutie’ is Hodge reinterpreting the sheer impact of his earlier club singles with an ethereal and introspective edge. On the soaring, ‘Ghost of Akina’, he performs the inverse, unspooling frenetic breaks from a dreamlike stance.
Both personal and propulsive, ‘Shadows in Blue’ sees Hodge retain his instinctive grip on the dance floor while transitioning into bold new territories with true depth and invention.
Hodge – Shadows In Blue
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