Review: Hodge’s Midnight Blend Between Ambient Soundscapes & Club-Ready Cuts In ‘Shadows In Blue’

Hodge | Shadows In Blue | Houndstooth

Release Date: 17 April, 2020

The navigation of personal change is a turbulent voyage, to say the least. As we traverse the inner parts of ourselves, we are forced to confront both the brightest suns that lie within us, along with the most cumbersome midnight cloaks – the darkness, that while not necessarily a bad thing – can be overwhelming to face, and easy to be consumed by.

This type of process can be an overwhelming complexity, yet it remains a process; something we move through, regardless of whether we resist or follow the natural tide. We forget that often, the shadows we find within ourselves are tangible; able to be molded into a completely new realm.

In ‘Shadows In Blue’, Bristol-based producer Jake Martin, known under his moniker Hodge – embraces the use of timbre as storytelling; the textural experimentation of each track engulfing a distinct tone that within itself is a narrative. The willingness to delve into the genre dynamism of ‘Shadows In Blue’ – brushes of intricate ambience, minimalist emotive techno and playful dance – showcases an intriguing offering by the artist, returning to UK label Houndstooth.

The way in which the soundscape of ‘The World Is New Again‘ is sculpted glitters with a hypnotic, intriguing aura which (aside from the perfect reference to its title) genuinely captures a progression; playing out is if we are rising from a landscape previously barren – the embers of a past darkness shimmering with the possibilities of new life. The careful construction of the intricately composed soundscape crafts its own realm; the echoic, ominous heartbeat of the track’s opening resonates gradually as if – awakening.

The unexpected, joyful melodious dance of synthesisers blossom as alien flora; the vibrant cyber world springing to life – gracefully weaving into lyrical, chiming timbres that cradle a more rich, organic feel (the tuneful tone reminiscent of traditional eastern melodies). The progression of the track allows for moments of calm – as creation is not particularly linear – drizzling ambience and immersive, tranquil swells segue into the welcomed engulf of a crescendo lush with timbre and rhythm, confident and rich; heavy, pounding beats rise as mountains amongst glittering floral electronics and layers of ambient sound – the poised construction of a new world.

Lanes‘ channels the shadowy phantoms of dark techno, a distant beat pulses hauntingly – substantial and heavy, looming as thick clouds in a cloaked midnight sky; the ominous feel creeping slowly and eerily to the forefront, segueing into the brief alarm of a sustained drone before breaking into an umbral palpitation. The strong pounding beat grasps listeners with its spectral bass, vibrating heavily beneath the skin; the ethereal rhythmic engulf showcases a bewitching experimentation of textural electronics and an evident allure to the dance-floor: a track that one could find in the underground of the witching hour, with ‘Shadows In Blue‘ presenting, overall, Hodge’s ability to create lavish, graceful ambient soundscapes along with mesmerising techno club cuts.

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Rating: 7.5 / 10

Feature Image: Hodge by Tape Echo