The past few months have seen steady stellar releases across the techno landscape. In this same space, just a few weeks ago, we highlighted the latest from Marcel Dettmann, Fear of Programming. In the interim, top-shelf releases from top-shelf producers like Marco Zenker (Channel Balance, Ilian Tape) and Skee Mask (B, self-released) have also seen the light of day. Now, we look at another purveyor of techno's harder edges, the always cosmic, MATRiXXMAN, whose compilation (read: not album) Dust World has recently released.

Anyone who has experienced MATRiXXMAN in person will know his sets are somehow familiar yet cosmically vast in their scope. With tinges of industrial and acid mixed with a relentless techno sensibility, the US-based DJ/Producer creates dark and fully immersive atmospheres that are both futuristic and timeless. Over the past decade or so, a steady stream of releases, both short and long form, have also come - from the trilogy of Dekmantel Eps (Sectors 1-IIII: Rhythm, Acid, Polyphony, respectively) to the xx reworks of 2013's The XX Files, featuring the relentless percussion of Protocol to the grey scale techno of Grid00234. But, across them all, the 2015 LP Homesick (Ghostly International) is one of the finest collections of techno futurism on this side of Drexciya. It perfectly encapsulates the gamut of the San Franciscan's production approach. In short, that release featured everything from Annika's Theme's brooding atmosphere to the certified techno anthem of Switchblade, and the ominous and bass-heavy favourite, Augmented.

With Dust World, however, what you see is, again, what you get. It is techno for techno's sake across 17 tracks and is MATRiXXMAN's first proper LP since the before-mentioned Homesick. But, unlike that release's foray into crossover territory, Dust World comprehensively explores the genre's most profound, twisted avenues and nooks. First, his staple sci-fi inspirations feature on The Curious Ones, Beacon Recovery, and album opener Neural Lace. Then, there is the quirky and intentionally flat unofficial album midpoint, Stranded. But there are also bangers galore, like The Heist, Riken Device, or album closer Mother's Return - each of which could feel at home in sets from anyone from Rødhåd to Rrose. But Dust World also comes with moments of (shall we say) respite - Do You Copy and The VR Parlour among them, each sounding more and more like a distant inter star communications. 

Still, the strength of Dust World is outside its elements (although each is very strong). Instead, it is a sum of the collection of its parts created and curated by one of the best in the techno business. From tracks 1 to 17, there is no filler here. Discerning listeners will catch eerie melodies, futuristic soundscapes, and smatterings of Detroit comfort and remember why MATRiXXMAN consistently avoids the pitfalls of flat techno full-lengths we hear all too often.