Mike Shannon Slight of Hand

Techno is the name of the game on this album. Mike Shannon, a Torontonian who has now moved to Montreal, puts together a variety of techno tracks that range in style from minimal to Detroit and experimental. The tracks feel like they have been paired. Two dance floor-friendly tracks are usually followed by more experimental beats. Unfortunately this disrupts the album's rhythm - whenever things get going well in one direction, an abrupt change loses the momentum. Of the danceable tracks, some of the better ones are "Crawl Through," "Unexpected Vengence," "Essence of the Usual Myth" and "Sextoy," with its off-kilter syncopated percussion. Any of them will go down well with lovers of minimal beats, and clicks and pops. Of the experimental tracks, they suffer from a lack of focus. They often sound like song fragments, rather than complete works. Shannon is at his best when he's doing more up-beat, dance floor-oriented techno. His slower and more experimental tracks are not very satisfying, and detract from the very good faster pieces. (Force Inc.)