Cupid's Head

Swedish producer Axel Willner's combination of house beats and heavenly ambience always had a way of slipping into the background – a sound pulsing enough to dance to but sometimes more effective as a study aid. His fourth LP is darker, but, more important, it's rougher, working wrinkles and jagged edges into music that used to feel almost too smooth to grab on to. The album unfolds with patient intensity, peaking with the gorgeous "No. No . . ." – nine minutes of woozy loops where the beat just disappears. Plenty of techno trades on the familiar ride of tension and release; Willner's music is like watching the horizon from a moving train – the journey eventually becomes the destination.

From The Archives Issue 1196: November 21, 2013