The jury is still out on Involver and Fundacion—which are loved and loathed equally by the progressive fraternity. I sit somewhere in between, seeing moments of undeniable genius and follies caused by a producer experimenting with new gear. Invol2ver has no such room for flaws. It's cool and confident, evidence of years of tireless touring, and it expertly forges the best of Involver, Fundacion and the harder end of his Northern Exposure mixes to conjure a sonic storm of fluttering ecstacy and deep melancholy that is undeniably Sasha. It's easily his best release since taking on the digital mantra and although it revels in having a darker and more linear agenda, its expert pace and flawless sequencing packs more than enough emotional thrills to lock you in over the entire set.
Thom Yorke, Ladytron and M83 all feature, as well as old friend and Airdrawndagger collaborator Charlie May, but their craft is reshaped expertly by Sasha's sorcery. Opener "You Are the Worst Thing in the World" by Telefon Tel Aviv underpins a lush arpeggio of warm synths with mournful vocals that sail beautifully through a gentle chug of sparse percussion. Sasha toughens things up with the fluid tech of Ray La Montague's "Eclipse," its disarming Rekids-style siren coaxing you into the finger-wagging house stomp of Sasha's "LowLife." Charlie May's "Midnight" offers a Northern Exposure intermission of sorts, with its gorgeous flicker of breakbeats and gasping chords, but Sasha offers little reprieve, launching into a rolling progressive take on Apparat's sublime "Arcadia." He hits the snooze button with the trance-infected "That You Might" by Home Video but, by God, he hits his straps with a closing magic bracket that's up there with his best.
Starting with Ladytron's "Destroy Everything You Touch," a snarling electro monster that snaps and writhes under broken and wailing synths and a dominatrix vocal line, Sasha grabs you by your sweaty hair and pulls you through a dark sonic tunnel into the blinding china white light of M83's incredible "Couleurs." What ensues is one of the best mash-up's of this year, as Sasha flicks on the strobe and unleashes Thom Yorke's haunting vocals from "Eraser" over M83's gargantuan arsenal of emotive synths. (A full-circle moment from a guy who used to throw Whitney Houston a cappella's over Italo-house.) As the sparse chords of "Eraser" swing through his own "3 Little Piggys" cut and you realize there are no electroclash shockers to come, taking in the lights-up anthemic feel of "Sometimes I Realise" by Engineers is almost a relief, and an apt way to close out a magnificent set.