On "Leitmotiv," a synth lead shoots above pitter-patter drums and leads the track into a slightly more urgent gallop. In the hands of a more predictable producer, this might've been a hands-in-the-air moment, but the drop instils a sense of calm instead. In passages like these, Al Hilali isn't making tracks for the dance floor so much as turning techno and house into a meditative form.
Theory Of Colours has other moments of quiet brilliance. On "Murmure," the rhythm is implied—everything is hushed and soft-focus, a form with which Al Hilali works especially well. Standout track "Glass Jelly" deploys a break that feels so light as to be made out of plastic. Add in the jazzy keyboard strokes, and it becomes a house track whose poise and nonchalance make it that much more potent.
Al Hilali's style of dance music underlines the power of restraint. The way he exercises control calls back to krautrock groups like Cluster, whose music had a similar lightness and grace. Al Hilali has hinted at krautrock influences in the past—the thick, musical synth work of "Lydia," for example—and here they surface as analogue textures and ultra-precise arrangements. Theory Of Colours works equally well as a collection of chill-out jams or club tracks for DJs. It's a dance floor album that isn't all that concerned with the dance floor, which makes it a pleasure to listen to from front to back.