Landform Code (1998, reissued on Fantasy Enhancing)
Trust Lee Norris to unearth and reissue on his label a lost ambient techno gem like this one. He was there back in the 90’s, after all, making his own music as Metamatics. The magnificent Landform Code by Japanese artist Virgo fits right in with the early British techno sound: the atmospheric, cerebral, Detroit-inspired bleepy IDM (intelligent dance music) of labels like Warp Records and artists like The 7th Plain, Speedy J, Beaumont Hannant and Black Dog. It’s kinetic, spacious and highly melodic. The otherworldly feel and sci-fi themes show a strong Detroit lineage, and the music moves the mind as much as the body despite some galloping tempos. Although the album came out in 1998, several years after mainstream interest had already caused the IDM bubble to burst, I’ll restate what the few souls who knew about Landform Code have been saying for years: it really is up there with the classics.