Five years after his debut, the Finnish perfectionist releases his second album. It's a corker.

In any sane universe the advent of a new Huoratron record would herald the sort of palm leaf waving that greeted Jesus when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. As it is, XXVI Crimes Of Love seems to have slipped out unnoticed. There’s not even yet a mention of it on Wikipedia. When I listen to the Dark Lord of Finnish Techno, my mind is drawn to David Warner’s Evil Genius in Time Bandits who, from his dastardly underground lair, rebukes the Supreme Being for creating slugs, 43 species of parrot and nipples for men. “I would have started with lasers, eight o’clock, day one!” he cries. As ever with Huoratron, the devil is in the detail, and the attention to detail in the music is simply staggering. But all that other stuff you have to do to promote a record these days: the social media presence, the constant touring in other regions, the blogging, the microblogging… clearly Aku Raski couldn’t care less.

So perhaps the only disappointment with XXVI Crimes Of Love is that there’s so much material we’ve heard already. Given his level of perfectionism – this is an artist who will spend up to three months fine-tuning a single drum sound – it should be no surprise. “I’m truly that guy who self-flagellates over everything,” Raski told me when I interviewed him in Helsinki in 2014. Tracks from the Acid Reign EP – the title track, ‘DDoS’ and ‘Pioneers of Nothing’ – are all here, meaning a third of the tracks on this new album are three years old. Huoratron is no stranger to playing the waiting game: “I’m a strong believer in the fact that the world – especially in this age of information overload – is groaning under the strain of music coming from everywhere, and I find it so annoying that people don’t take care of quality control themselves, or aren’t ambitious enough. Years from now I want to be certain that I was 100% behind all of the releases. Whether it was five releases or it was 30 releases, it doesn’t matter. As long as it’s pure and it’s whole, that’s the main objective.”

Whatever his label, Last Gang, must think of his working methods, one must applaud their patience and his tenacity. XXVI Crimes Of Love might not be entirely new, but it’s certainly pure and whole. Pure is a strange adjective to use, though, as this sounds impure, like the devil’s thoughts. More than just being nasty, it’s music that embodies the frustrations and low-level anxieties of being alive in 2017; the constant humming or gnawing at the pit of the stomach, the external noise that screams in your face demanding attention as well as the violently offensive bullshit that assaults your sensibilities daily. Despite the fact some of these tracks are getting on a bit, the digital attack of ‘DDoS’ and the nihilism of ‘Pioneers of Nothing’ sound very now.

Elsewhere, there’s just as much intensity, whether we’re dealing with tension or attack. ‘Autocannibalism’ flits between tense blocks of ambient sound fighting against freewheeling lashings of drum n bass. The title track is a thrilling metallic juggernaut that might feature the most vertigo-inducing drop in the history of dance music, before it rebuilds again, bubbling up from within with perhaps a nod to Massive Attack’s ‘Angel’. ‘Bit Rot’ is intrepid and gets the heart pumping like bad speed, while ‘Mortality Salience’ is what it probably sounds like being trapped within a dystopian video game. ‘Dirty Flag’ continues Huoratron’s history of wordless, if sporadic political resistance.

One should rejoice that there’s a second LP at all – his first, Cryptocracy, took him nine years – but obviously that means we probably won’t hear from him again until about 2023. In a world of disposable product, Huoratron is dancing only to the beat of his own finely tuned programmed drum.

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today