Jamie Hodge grew up in Chicago in a jazz-loving family, first forming a band when he was a
teenager, using drum machines and keyboards to rattle thru covers of Joy Division and Ministry
tracks. His sound progressed into dubbier spaces when he befriended Ted Gray, a local record
store clerk, and into off-kilter jazz when he ran into Bundy K. Brown and David Grubbs, who let
Hodge watch rehearsals of the first Gastr del Sol recordings.
The transformational moment came when a friend (pictured on the “Diagonals” cover no less)
played Hodge the 1991-released “From Our Minds To Yours Vol. 1”, the first compilation on Richie
Hawtin and John Acquaviva’s Plus 8 label. From here, Hodge took his growing obsession with
dance music to early Chicago raves, and began to explore European techno and UK hardcore.
Eventually he met Hawtin and released his Plus 8 debut by the time he’d moved into a college dorm
in 1993, using the Born Under A Rhyming Planet moniker for the first time.
Hodge would release two more 12”s for Plus 8, heading to Germany to connect with David Moufang
(Move D) and forming Conjoint, later Studio Pankow. The material presented on “Diagonals” takes
us right back to Hodge’s vintage era, when he was using a mutating spread of equipment - Korg
MS-20, Atari ST, Nord Micro Modular, ARP Axxe, Yamaha TG77 and TX816, and Alesis HR-16B - to
assemble tracks that reached through his wide range of musical interests.
‘Diagonals’ sputters to life with a Demdike Stare editon on a mood that hovers between ‘80s new
age DIY tapes and gaseous dub techno. ‘Handley’ digs into the tranquil electrified jazz modalities
over a swung drum machine rhythm, squeezing robotic soul from a modest arsenal of gear, lashing
the hypermelodic post-Detroit sensitivity of The Black Dog/Plaid to Chicago-axis experiments
from the Tortoise nexus
Cherry-picked by DDS, the selection best portrays the mix of soulful depth and atmospheric
effervescence that defined that elusive era in e