Raised in the Netherlands and now based in Berlin, Niels Luinenburg—better known as Delta Funktionen—is not really part of the standard techno pool. Make your way to the dance floor for any one of the Dutchman's sets, and you'll see that techno is far from only thing present across his palette—you're often more likely to hear 90 minutes of Detroit electro as you are stonefaced techno. Subsequently, it's unsurprising that, when the time came for the Delta Funktionen full-length, Traces, influences from electro (and beyond) play just as big of a role in its sound.
The album gets underway with the conspicuously downtempo "Frozen Land." A melodic intro from a previously singles-driven artist is common in the album format, although here it's a real signifier of what's to come rather than an aside. "Enter" comes next, employing an acid-line over a tougher but still Detroit-indebted backdrop. "Utopia" then follows, drawing upon a Drexciyan soundscape and slightly punchier percussion. It's not until "Redemption," one of the only three straightforward techno efforts here, that anything club-ready arrives. Easily the album's highlight, the track features the most upfront kick drum of the entire full-length, with dark, cut-up chords punctuating the solid foundation it lays. Something so obviously suited to the club environment placed amidst such headphone-tailored cuts is bound to stand out, and, in this instance, its polished aesthetic and deft arrangement only reaffirm its case.
Further along, electro again dominates across "Challenger" and "Onkalo." While, in terms of impact they're no match for more techno-oriented moments on Traces, they give the album one of its highlights—the incredibly expansive "On a Distant Journey." Like the preceding "Redemption" and "And If You Know," this ten-minute finale asserts that Luinenburg shines when he's not immersed in electro revivalism, but rather engaging with a combination of the two forms of music he so obviously loves.