Linkwood, real name Nick Moore, has a knack for beatless productions. He spends this album's first two tracks easing into gear, starting with the elegant "Sonrise," which calls to mind The Caretaker's ghostly ballrooms. The following track, "Outside In," begins an album-long motif of blue chords affected to oblivion. "Minus 12" and "Coral" are two sides of the beat-free coin, the former a sorrowful, minor-key track, the latter infused with breathy samples of running water, its arpeggiated synths flitting about like a sunfish.
Even when he's dropping beats, Moore's got his head in the clouds. Dance floor tracks like "Off Kilter (No Midi Mix)" are slathered with string leads. The excellent "Ignorance Is Bliss (Live Mix)" nuances a Chicago jack track with a dizzying array of ten-finger chords. Continuing his explorations of Midwest dance music, Moore looks to Robert Hood and Underground Resistance as models for some unexpected mid-tempo techno tracks. "Object" filters an unsettling cluster of notes over a pulsing bassline for a full nine minutes, though it feels a bit long and emotionally flat compared to the aforementioned ambient segues. Similarly, the hypnotic "Tier 5" lacks subtlety compared to "Reef Walking," a jungle-inspired track with dive-bombing bass and skittering drums.
"Expressions" has already proved its dance floor oomph, having appeared on fellow Edinburgh resident Prosumer's fabric 79 mix. This one shapes Moore's moody chords into a banging, peak-time anthem. A capital "A" album needs a brilliant closing track, and Linkwood comes through with "Love Lost," a thousand-yard stare of a house tune on which Moore uses reverb on a simple progression to approximate the sensation of being newly alone.
On Expressions, Moore wants to party with us, mourn with us and above all, space out with a formidable collection of keyboards. Considering this is only his fifth release in seven years, it seems he took his time, digging new tunnels in his productions without abandoning the alluring deepness of his debut.