Onmutu Mechanicks Nocturne

Scottish dub tactician Arne Weinberg borrows a little bit from different digital traditions to come up with an engaging debut album. Nocturne isn't going to blaze a new trail of downtempo techno, but it never drifts away into irrelevance. For one thing, the beats are right up front ― there's no hiding this pulse behind a wall of textured reverb. The texture is saved for the dub effects, which squelch across the stereo spectrum. Weinberg's MySpace page suggests Boards of Canada, early Warp material (like the Black Dog) and, inevitably, Detroit techno as influences, and it's hard to disagree. The most BoC element to his work is the emphasis on songwriting; despite the minimal Detroit-ism, the effects and grooves develop just enough to properly highlight the relatively optimistic and breathy melodies, which float on top of the robo-steppers beats. Highlights are the driving "Constant X" and halftime, breathy vocal tune "Your Touch Is So Electric." (Echocord)