Much of Digital Solutions sounds like it could have been produced on the same equipment Atkins used on the first Model 500 EP, 1985's No More UFOs. In fact, most of the record sounds even older than 1999's Mind And Body, forsaking that LP's soul and techno fusion to zoom right back to the pure robo-funk of mid-'80s tracks like "Night Drive (Thru-Babylon)." With its brittle electro beats and synthesised vocal, "Control" isn't a cousin of that tune so much as a sibling separated at birth.
Of course, it's actually a very good thing to sound like classic Model 500—many artists have spent their careers aiming for exactly that, and if you're not expecting anything groundbreaking here then what you're left with is impressive. "Encounter"'s low-end wump suggests Atkins is on at least nodding terms with bass music, but the best thing about it are its strings and the cinematic flourishes that recall old tracks like "Urban Tropics." Fellow Detroit pioneer Mike Banks had a hand in producing the album, and "Hi-NRG" sounds as good as anything from his outfit Galaxy II Galaxy.
But it's perhaps the guitar solo in "The Groove"—which makes you think more of Jimmy Page with his foot on the monitor than any futurist adventurer—that says the most about Digital Solution's place in the current scheme of things. Like techno's equivalent of '70s rock legends on a reunion tour, Atkins is past his prime but still perfectly capable of satisfying his fans. He may be trading more in the glow of nostalgia than the shock of the new, but he can still deliver the goods.