It's all here: the paced, dreamy stuff ("Beyond Planets"), something with a bit more bite ("Protect The Prophecy"), an acid freak out ("Black Pegasus") and a slammer that touches on his vinyl-digging past ("Renegades Of Conflict"). There's even a straight-up jungle track ("In The Shadows") and a few moments where Dax J goes totally off road. These are Shades Of Black's highlights, but there sadly aren't enough. Intro "Orlok's Symphony" prises the lid open with a nice tumble down the rabbit hole, but the jewel in the crown is "Sempa" for working strange chimes and timbres into a delightful club oddity. That one takes on all sorts of weird shapes, and yet it's the most succinct product of Dax J's amalgams.
The biggest fault with Shades Of Black is how the elements separately vie for your attention instead of properly coalescing. The mixology is almost right, but not quite. Take "Requiem Souls": it was deliberately made to jar, with the mix firing off at strange angles, but comes off sounding more awkward than functionally challenging. Altogether, Black is missing the gum to glue it firmly together, but on a track-to-track basis, it's more solid off-kilter techno from a producer unafraid to subvert conventions.