Despite still being in his 20s, Niels Luinenberg has already released a string of acclaimed EPs and has showcased his impressive DJing skills through gigs around Europe and a series of excellent online mixes, as well as this year's Inertia compilation. Can he now take the next step and translate his skills to the album format? "Frozen Land" starts the album in contemplative mode as austere synths unravel over slow-paced, shuffling drums. It's followed by "Enter", where robotic vocals and seared acid lines underpin a slow-motion, ominous bass. Together, these tracks make for an atmospheric opening. Traces then shifts from the esoteric to the visceral, as "Redemption" rides heavy claps and rough acid lines; "Target" unfolds to cavernous drums and heavy tribal beats, while "And If You Know" features scatter-gun percussion and a "Losing Control"-style pitched down vocal sample. The parting shot, "On A Distant Journey" is perhaps the album's finest moment. It sees Luinenberg draw inspiration again from the classic techno and electro sounds that feature in his sets. Delta Funktionen may not have Forward Strategy Group's experimental edge or Shifted's unique sound design, but on Traces he proves himself to be one of the few to thrive in this most adverse setting for techno producers.
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