Techno veteran Robert Hood has had something of a banner year, releasing two singles from his Motor: Nighttime World 3 album, dropping several ace remixes, and, most notably, issuing the acclaimed Paradise LP and follow-up Phobia EP under his more soulful, house-oriented Floorplan moniker. Even after all of this activity, Hood has managed to slip in one final 2013 release via his own M-Plant imprint. The Eleven EP is almost diametrically opposed to his two most recent, aforementioned full-lengths; where Paradise was geared towards the dancefloor and indebted to the sonic tics of classic house and techno and Motor: Nighttime World 3 was thick with rich, neo-noir atmosphere, Hood's new EP serves up two tracks committed to austere, bare-bones functionality.
A-side "Eleven" is an intricately textured slice of driving techno. Opening with skittering hats and a steady, lurching melodic undertone, Hood deploys slowly building chords to create a feeling of friction and urgency. Like much of his best material, it's the kind of track where everything seems torn between a state of entropy and flux, creating a sense of permanent momentum that has somehow been arrested and become stuck. On the flipside, "Alarm" has more of a straightforward techno pulse, but its sci-fi synth line gives the track a dystopian edge. Beginning with little more than a beat and oscillating textures, Hood gradually introduces an abrasive synth line that in turn gives way to glittering, noirish melody. It's deep, dark, and emotionally resonant, and as such, proves to be the highlight of the EP's two tracks. While the EP is arguably nothing exceptional in the context of Hood's prolific output—and perhaps pales slightly when compared to his remarkable work as Floorplan this year—Eleven is a nonetheless exceptionally well-crafted release from a producer who almost seems to be incapable of making a truly bad track.