Bristol-based Hodge kicked off 2013 with a bang, collaborating with Pev to deliver hallucinogenic wind chimes on "Bells." Though his sparse prior output hadn't suggested a taste for such muffled psychedelia, he's continued this vein of experimentation on Holographic Prose. Meant to showcase some of Hodge's more unconventional ideas, and purportedly inspired by science-fiction novels, the EP doesn't fully deliver on the three-dimensional promises of its title, although it does manage to capture some brief moments of interplanetary wonder.
"Holographic Prose" shuffles over brief bunches of white noise, with twinkling vibraphone breaking up the watery foundation. One can hear echoes of "Bells"' oscillations, but they sound aimless here, as though they're shimmering towards an uncertain destination. "Pressure" fares better, with a squealing introduction that slowly fades beneath cavernous claps. It's the most spacious production on the record, with subtle sub-bass movement that calms the track whenever it begins to feel like it might become too hectic. The song actually skitters to a halt in its last minute—it's almost like the disjointed vocal sample simply becomes too tired to carry on.
"Monster" and "Slowing Behavior" both trundle on past their effectiveness, drifting into the wallpaper with casual percussive shifts. The latter moves with a hesitant menace without delivering on the sense of incoming impact, settling on a metronomic woodblock, a plucky synth line, and another remote and cooing vocal sample. "Monster" is content to revolve in place over a boom-bap rhythm drenched in reverb, supported by faded pads and a muffled radio transmission. They're not completely bland, but given Hodge's past work, one would expect works of such declared experimentation to be more unhinged. Here's to hoping that Hodge's future experiments are infused with the same focus he's previously displayed while working in his comfort zone.