Historic, hypnotic, heavenly…
Robert Hood - M-Print: 20 Years Of M-Plant Music

Two decades, three discs, a couple of codename changes, several unreleased and exclusive inclusions, and one singular desire to get your synovial fluid spilling over. Argue amongst yourselves whether ‘M-Print’ should've been mixed or not; and to all warehouse journey seekers, this here label commemoration belonging to one of techno’s hall-of-famers, is all about getting straight down to brass tacks and constantly sharpening them.  

Welcome to Robert Hood country.

M-Plant’s Detroit monorail tour leaves a techno epicentre forever giving off fluorescent rays like Hood is using a plasma ball for stress relief. It passes through signatures of fluid, weaving synth plaits and staccato loops ('Baby Baby' is one big round of hardened funk), and one-man-and-his-kick drum performance.

The sound of mildly irked technology mutters under its breath (the pistons and cogs given top billing on a previously unreleased mix of ‘Who Taught You Math’), and one-note hammerings create a perspiration displacement where sweat seems to glide off Hood’s production line and dispel myths of Motor City disintegration – it’s rare for any of the 33 tracks to be spartan or emaciated – at the same time.

The quality and body of work overrules the potential for backbiting about how Hood has closed the gap between the compilation’s ‘Minimal Nation’ and ‘Internal Empire’ entries from 1994, to the present day re-upping of ‘Protein Valve’ theory. And the fact M-Plant went into post-millennium hibernation for several years.

Okay, a souped-up version of Sister Sledge’s ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’ (below) is fairly unfathomable, a throwaway sniff of deviating cheese. But, with eye wandering faintly from its fixed focus, it does set a benchmark for a little bit of disco to develop on the truly thankful ‘We Magnify His Name’ and diva-fired techno soul of ‘Never Grow Old’, giving new life to limbs subjected to unremitting push and pull.

Historic, hypnotic, heavenly: all your techno Christmases are now sorted.

8/10

Words: Matt Oliver

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