"25 Years from Alpha" takes a solid quarter of an hour to state its case, but flip the thing over and you'll find two other elegant compositions as well. "Feathers Floating" auditions for the right to close your sets, doing exactly what it says on the plastic. Heard's keyboard lines suspend themselves in mid-air, breathing in and out so effortlessly that you might think that this was a lost B-side from Blue Lines-era Massive Attack—a time period when that group that oozed cool.
In contrast, you can hear Heard pushing things on "Mercurian Funk." Until the promised funk comes in, that is. Like any great jazzer, Heard's brilliance doesn't lie in what he plays. It's in what he doesn't. The moments of (what sound like) ad-libbing are few and far between, but they add an immeasurable amount to the tune. Well, that and the absolutely infectious rotating synth that threatens to draw you ever more deeply into Heard's soundworld each time it rolls past. Give him a chance to get past that cliché of an opening, and Heard will hook you every single time.