Four Tet Ringer

A bit like Latin, techno is a genre term that no longer has meaning. Made redundant when electronic music splintered into a thousand sub-genres, it’s currently experiencing a renaissance of sorts. For Ringer, UK’s Kieran Hebden (as Four Tet) inflects a decidedly "techno” album with post-rock, jazz and experimentalist treatments without straying too far from techno’s original sound. While many of the album’s lengthy tracks are gorgeously simple and melodically beautiful, Hebden interjects dissonant pitch changes, flanging growls, hi-hat speckling or the rare percussive flare-up from veteran jazz drummer (and consistent collaborator) Steve Reid, which is enough reinvention to demonstrate techno’s untapped potential. The title track’s motorik rhythms and bubbling melodies yawn out into space, conjuring flashbacks of the Orb’s "Blue Room” or Tangerine Dream’s "Rubicon II.” "Ribbon” and "Swimmer” are similar — only on "Wing Body Wing” does Hebden altogether ditch the structure for more glitchy chaos — but even this eventually coagulates into a distinctive rainbow of harmonies. (Domino)