New Music: Hodini – WOLFEP039

One of England’s most consistently excellent and prolific dance labels, Wolf Music continue their streak with this raw, hypnotic effort from German producer Hodini.

The Brighton outfit, founded in 2009, seem to release a new must-have record on a monthly basis. Here, we find Hodini probing subterranean rhythms in a style both restless and winkingly gratifying. 

This latest from the Cologne-based producer follows releases on German labels Toy Tonics and Money $ex Records, home to like-minded deep house visionaries Max Graef and Glenn Astro. All three producers show a penchant for infectiously clambering percussion, and richly jazz-influenced layers of timbres and rhythms. Their music is eloquently nuanced yet powerfully visceral, and shares a slightly playful bent, with vocals warped and shifted as if from old VHS copies, often crafting campy source material into captivating club funk.

The first track, “Down Up,” is clearly the hottest dance floor number of the lot, but it’s angsty, less a convulsive party-starter than a fit of defiance. Jacking hats and claps set the basis for the brilliantly syncopated interplay between kick drum, bass, wood blocks, and electric piano, stuck through with splinter of vocal. It’s austere, like the Jovian sweep of paint on the label, and deeply grooving.

From there the record recedes into a variety of subtle territories, showing off Hodini’s rampant and disquieted musical imagination, all the while maintaining its beat.

Pendulous, “Grigio” centers around a hazy bass rhythm and an unsettled monologue about the power of music. A wacky B-movie synth line recedes and reemerges, contrasting the barren cycling of the rhythm section amidst the background chatter and applause of some anonymous basement meeting.   

“Represent Right Here” cools things down for a smooth hip hop vibe, plumbing the classic combo of chopped thrift store record sample and scratched vocal line, heavy on Rhodes keys and sauntering bass. There’s a kind of post-modern humor in the stark repetition of the title phrase devoid of any further identifiers. We must wonder: who, where, or what, exactly, is being represented “right here,” and how? 

HADE, fellow Kölner, features on the final track, “Parachutes,” a satisfying and extended closer. It builds back tension with a lumbering disco loop that bubbles and chirps, elevating as new instruments arrive, and gaining steam with funky chord changes. The yawning, detuned refrain “the sun don’t chill,” together with the emphasized line “bright moments,” in “Grigio,” hints at some kind of theme: the perception of light, the awareness of the cosmic. 

You can score the vinyl release now, and the digital version will be go on sale March 3rd.

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