The four producers behind the Aphelion moniker temper their deep Detroit devotion with equally lofty regard for older space-minded music (especially Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, and Brian Eno). With queasy-listening digitalia all the rage, new albums like ZUGZWANG--all lush, layered synthscapes, and polished programming--are becoming all too rare. Past, present, and future have seldom combined as beautifully as they do here.
Aphelion may hail from England, but the opening "Bound" is Detroit techno of the highest order. Juan Atkins would be proud to claim such a sensuous sonic sunrise as his own. Likewise for the cascading "Fornax" and "Arrest," Aphelion's much sought first recording. "Zugzwang" itself delights in intertwined melodies strung with jewel-like bleeps and bloops. "Deep Adj" evokes Tangerine Dream, with five engrossing minutes of soundtrack storytelling, while the distinct celestial soul-jazz flavor of Kirk Degiorgio's Applied Rhythmic Technologies pantheon pervades the undulating currents of "Movements" and "Syd." "Lucier" waxes beatless, soaring to heights of sky-tracing beauty. The restless rhythm-craft on "Doxology" and the Black Dog Productions-worthy "We" strikes a more urgent note, adding depth to the ample beauty on display.