The ambience of "Gradual Approach" is nearly indistinguishable from II's "Friction Pulse." It's strange that music that sounds so foggy conforms to a steadfast formula, but that's likely what the Basic Channel diehards want. In that sense, with its pristine sound design and precise structures, Vibrant Forms III doesn't disappoint.
Soublis occasionally pushes that minimalist aesthetic into nebulousness. "Variant" is little more than soft gasps and a gentle pulse, which sounds like someone sleeping, and it may even induce sleep during its 12 minutes. But most of the album is like a fascinating kind of musical archaeology, inviting you to dig through the many layers of each track. There's the aquatic trickles and submarine boom of "Safe Harbour," the glassy stabs and hypnotic rhythm of "Uncontained" and the synth that sweeps over "Hordes Descent"'s slow, tireless march.
For those without an ear for detail, however, Vibrant Forms III could be as dull as rooting through dirt. Even for dub techno obsessives, it's unlikely to feel like a landmark release in the way the first two editions were. We've heard so much music sculpted in these shapes, plenty of it by Soublis himself. Its forms are now familiar, but there's still a monolithic beauty to this sound that doesn't erode with age.