It's the little things that count on Air Is Freedom. There's room to breathe on this record, and a warm sound palette that's more immediate than the all-consuming drone of so much dark techno. From the opener, "Crossing," we're submerged in a sumptuous world of texture, in which Tronchin's beats often feel like they're gliding rather than pounding. On "Nightbus," the bars culminate in pressurized puffs of air. "Dario's Diet," meanwhile, is a soupy assemblage of squelches and drums that feel like they're wading through sludge.
The record's more inventive touches don't pull it away from dance floor functionalism entirely. "Harsh Times," with its offbeat accents and rusty percussion, is downright funky, while the hissy looseness of "Own" is irresistible. It's in moments like these where Tronchin truly finds gold. On the title track, he takes a sudden detour to Detroit, building an ecosystem of strange synth sounds to stretch out in. It's not really what we associate with his music, which is what makes Air Is Freedom so engaging.