ADA, Blondie (Areal; areal-records.com). In 2001, German pop-chanteuse Ada said auf wiedersehen to her mainstream career, procured synth and sampler, and now makes sleek, melodic techno caned by the world's finest DJs (Triple R, Sven Vath, et al.). On Blondie, Ada sings like a darling wee lass, but her tracks have a pliable toughness and a sweet wistfulness that show you don't need to slave over a hot laptop for several years before you can mine tech-house gold.
CORDOVAN, Cordovan (LunaticWorks; lunaticworks.com). An L.A. bassist/producer who manufactures sound for corporations by day, Cordovan traffics in orchestral, Mingus-bassed triphop for imaginary films off the clock.
MICHAEL MAYER, Touch (Kompakt; kompakt-net.de). Kompakt Records boss/taste-making DJ Mayer's long-awaited debut album delivers an affectionate punch of gently chugging, subliminally anthemic techno. Alles ist gut.
SAGAN, Unseen Forces (Vague Terrain; sagan.lsr1.com). Sagan (Bay Area laptop savants Lesser, Blevin Blectum, Wobbly, and director Ryan Junell) concoct a seriously deranged, spacy soundtrack for the cosmos about which their namesake enthused. Think Subotnick and Xenakis on 'shrooms and MAX/MSP plug-ins. The DVD contains nine live shows/six hours of MP3s.
VARIOUS, Speicher CD 2 (Kompakt; kompakt-net.de). The Speicher series spotlights Kompakt's harder techno side. Digitally mixed by Michael Mayer, the second installment finds the mostly German lineup ingeniously reinvigorating ye olde 4/4 rhythm with a bit more finesse than on Speicher CD 1. Wolfgang and Reinhard Voigt, DJ Koze, Magnet, Freiland, Mayer, and others bust out many fascinating variations on techno's time-honored template.
JOHN TEJADA, Logic Memory Center (Plug Research; plugresearch.com). This is L.A. techno titan Tejada's "computer album," and it's a thing of scientific beauty. No matter the tools he uses, Tejada schools fools with his streamlined, failsafe dance rhythms and brain-tickling textures. Discounting a couple of too-sweet electro-pop deviations, Logic Memory Center oozes pure tech-house intelligence.
TERRESTRE, Secondary Inspection (Static; staticdiscos.com). Mexico's Fernando Corona proves he's just as creatively advanced in his 4/4 techno guise as he is in abstract-IDM mode as Murcof. Secondary Inspection taps into the same root-chakra-vibrating, tribal-techno vein Portable does. Which means this is sublimely tactile sound design for dancers and headphone wearers alike.
RICARDO VILLALOBOS, Thé Au Harem D'Archiméde (Perlon; perlon.net). Bruno Pronsato warned me that this was some next-level techno that would make other producers want to shut off their laptops for good. He's right. Villalobos plows a harrowingly deep path with forbidding rhythms, remorseless bass lines, odd percussive tics, and eerie guitar riffs. This is some dark, marrow-chilling shit, yet oddly uplifting, too. D'Archiméde is more voodoo than music, a ritual ceremony of mysterious origin that alludes to tech-house like Boredoms nod to psychedelic rock. This is the album of the year, so far. DAVE SEGAL REVIEW BONANZA