It's enlightening to discover that Daniel Avery's second album – Song for Alpha, the brilliantly absorbing and visionary follow up to 2013's flawless Drone Logic – was inspired largely by his transient life spent between nightclubs, flights, the passenger seats of cars and rented rooms, cementing a worldwide reputation as one of the defining techno DJs of the decade. While Drone Logic was mainly created for and honed by countless DJ gigs, Song for Alpha revels in exploring different spaces. As Avery's surroundings have changed, so has the sound of the new recordings.
Here, the booming sound of the big room is brilliantly countered by the music of the small hours. While the record pivots around a handful of huge dancefloor tracks, they sound odder, sparser than before. These may be club records, but they're made for dusty, dark rooms, not clinical white spaces. These are rooms where the acid loop that drives "Stereo L" seemingly curves around and inside the rhythm track; where both "Projector" and "Clear" evoke early rave records, only ones played live in a church - pitch perfect soundtracks to strobe lights flickering through stained glass. Spaces where the galloping percussion of "Diminuendo" – reminiscent of CJ Bolland's "Horsepower" - fuses to an alarm klaxon that drills deep into your cortex and a breakdown that sounds like a jet aircraft taking off inside the speaker cabinets.
With newfound confidence and time to develop, Avery's sonic vocabulary has expanded: uplifting ambient lullabies such as "First Light" and "Days From Now" sit perfectly next to the mesmeric techno assault. William Basinski, Warp's Artificial Intelligence series, Brian Eno plus his own recent excursions with synth specialist Alessandro Cortini all serve as touchstones for a record that sees Avery take his signature psychedelic-electronic sound to new dimensions, a sound that plays to the head as much as the body. Close your eyes, press repeat.