Most techno moves at a pace dictated by its function as dance music, but Superpitcher's Here Comes Love shows how that pace can be misleading. A peerless German producer whose woozy sound traces back to an early single called "Heroin," Superpitcher makes techno that drags and shuffles. He circles beats and spies them from odd vantage points. He marks out a frame and then messes with shutter-speeds. His slow tracks sound busy and dense, while his fast tracks have a way of lurking in their own wake, like shadows.
Superpitcher's haunted, distant sound typifies that of Kompakt, the German label he helped build into an electronic-music empire of sorts. His rich singles and contributions to CD compilations show him in a number of different lights, from his crisp, poppy Brian Eno cover to skulking goth-techno odes that prioritize mood and texture over movement. Here Comes Love draws on those past strains while steering toward rich new directions. "People" starts off with mesmerizing bells churning over a trademark Kompakt shuffle beat, pitched somewhere between techno's driving rush and the glam-rock slink of bands like T. Rex. Superpitcher's vocals, big on hisses and whispers, invoke two lovers stirred by the bond that leaves them fated to isolation. The elaborate mood comes to an early peak on "The Long Way," which swells over a portentous piano figure left to swim in a choppy swirl of drum sounds.
A listless middle patchthe Twin Peaks-by-way-of-RZA ballad "Träume," a finger-snap cover of the old standard "Fever"lets down the album's sails. But Superpitcher gets back to work with "Lovers Rock," a midtempo track that rubs techno's sharp lines with ashy pencil lead. By the time "Happiness" balloons into an ecstatic mess of billowing smears and grainy surfaces, Here Comes Love has charted a magnificent mix of emotion, from eerie numbness to sensual bliss. Superpitcher makes techno, but it's not so much dance music as mood music to brood and swoon by.