He's been a musical powerhouse for a decade now, but this is the first solo album from Steve 'Kode9' Goodman. Until now, almost all of his output has been built around the deep voice and mind-warp poetry of collaborator The Spaceape, aka Stephen Samuel Gordon, who died tragically young last year (as did another close friend, Chicagoan footwork king DJ Rashad).
Now, bar the ghostly presence of Gordon's voice on 'Third Ear Transmission', Goodman's beats have to carry a whole LP. And they do. It doesn't take a genius to hear loss here: unlike the clattering UK funky percussion of 2011's final Kode9 & Spaceape album 'Black Sun',
'Nothing' has a sense of emotional weightlessness. It's built on a historical electro continuum that binds the more strung-out aspects of bleep-rave, grime, trap-rap and footwork, with elegant little jazz and soul licks flickering like half-memories.
Just as 'Black Sun' dealt with Gordon's cancer but still created something invigorating, so 'Nothing' finds beauty in exploring dreams of a human-free world.
Kode9's strength has always been to show that serious scholarship and avant-garde instict don't need to separate from dancefloor culture and here, he's made one of his clearest statements of that yet. These visions of disappearing humanity are all too human.