Even better, the tracks here are diverse and detailed enough to work just fine on their own. Without invoking the dreaded Intelli-word, there are moments when Aera seems unconcerned with anything other than pure sound: the six minute "Daidalus" grooves so hard as to rub itself raw, bare wires crying out invasively and threatening to derail the track. Which they do: In its extended outro, a minute of electrified tubes uncoil in painfully audible friction—certainly not the kind of thing for your average house session.
Noise and abrasion is but one aspect of Aera's music; in direct contrast, "Port Hope" is a deep house track littered with chords that are all differing grades of velvet, as its jagged bassline sneaks up from below but never quite makes it through the thick layer of pillowy fabric. Aera flirts with even deeper sounds on two interludes, "Week of Fear" which revs and recoils like a frightened engine, and the gorgeous "Hoverboarding" lays down vocals like soft clouds as the track's distant percussion clatters away, wrestling with a whistling synth.
Wisely avoiding the tracky horizontal preoccupations of recent deep house, his beats bounce and skip ecstatically in a way that references the brighter side of contemporary UK dubstep, in the vein of Joy Orbison or Pariah. The chipmunked-vocals on "Port Hope" or the stutters on "Daidalus" owe something to the garage-revivalist trends of that scene, directly or indirectly, and it's these little touches that make all the difference. Aera sounds alive, and there's nothing that dance music benefits more from than a little life amidst all those computer-generated sounds.