Hood
w/ Clouddead, Project Perfect
Fri March 29
Blackbird

With the sweeping grace of their fifth and most recent album, Cold House (Aesthetics), Hood leads us heart first into the deepest recesses of the lucid psyche--that special place between sleep and dreaming.

It is rare that this happens. Hood, who come from England, seem to have stripped away all their preconceptions and pretense, with the sole purpose of being enveloped by the sublimity of their music. Cold House works on a very deep, introverted, subconscious level. Softly blending lullabies of bass and guitar, samples and electronics, full beats, tender vocals, and the otherworldly/whispered rhymes of cLOUDDEAD emcees Dose One and why?, the record is quiet but electrifying, stripped down but imaginative and grand, and hugely emotional.

"I think it's difficult to say without sounding really pretentious, but I'd like people to feel emotionally affected by it," says Richard Adams, who founded the group in 1990 with his brother, Chris. "Most of the music that's really affected me has had some kind of feeling running through it--melancholy or whatever. But I want to emotionally affect people and not go over the top of peoples' heads. I want people to get really into it, almost to the point of where it takes over their lives a little bit. The records that do that are few and far between but that's what the aim is, really."

Their aim is true; it's hard not to feel at least a little melancholy during the majority of Cold House. For instance, on "You Show No Emotion at All," Chris tenderly sings the line, "I can't stand the thought of you in love" over a warm, loping bass and keyboard track and layers of flickering electronic beats--Hood are masters at maintaining emotion and humanness with their electronics.

"It's worrying that we could lose something of the emotional aspect by making things a bit more cold and clinical, because it's not played by the hand of a human," Richard reveals. "But we're really aware of that, of what our songs sound like. We want to retain the human element." By doing so, Hood keeps their futurism and timelessness balanced--staying fresh by utilizing the technology that's available to them, but writing songs that transcend eras. In this sense, innovation is very important to them. Richard says, "Cold House is really born out of being really frustrated with music, to the point we thought, 'Let's make the album we want to hear.' Compared to other times in music, there aren't many people pushing the boundaries around or playing with music in that way."

One such group that pushes boundaries are their collaborators, cLOUDDEAD. Part of Oakland's innovative Anticon collective, cLOUDDEAD--Dose One, why?, and Odd Nosdam--have created a whole new way of looking at hiphop, by rhyming off-kilter, stream-of-conscious lyrics with flashback-inducing, erratic samples. Longtime fans of Hood, cLOUDDEAD mailed their records to Richard and Chris; eventually, they ended up on Cold House. "Basically, we sort of cheekily asked them if they fancied being on the record we were doing. Chris gets bored of using his own voice, and the rest of the band has absolutely dreadful singing voices, so we kind of wanted to do something a bit different," says Richard.

"We think they're coming from a similar place... There's a DIY aspect to it in the fact that it seems to be done at home or on a four-track or whatever they use, but it's really experimental. We immediately thought it was kind of like what we do, but coming from a hiphop angle. It's incredible. I can't believe someone from San Francisco doing hiphop, albeit left-field hiphop, is listening to bands like us and Movietone. I got kind of freaked out by it."