Cortex hasn't completely repressed his techno tendencies here, with the first four tracks all anchored around undulating basslines and tensile beats with the occasional rush of insistent hi-hats. But those rhythms are largely submerged beneath vaporous guitar, the squeals of malfunctioning radio transmissions and deep and frosty Detroit chords. And as Kihon progresses, so Cortex seems more confident to roam further from the dance floor. Track five weaves operatic samples and febrile synths around a gently oscillating rhythm, the rumbles of track seven are only dance floor material for people who like raving to earthquakes, and the wonderfully emotive closing number has a lambent synth sweep warmly cocooning the listener against what sounds like rain against the window.
Like its creator, Kihon is a thoughtful and reflective album at odds with the prevailing climate in today's techno. Indeed, given that he talked of retiring last year, we may never have heard it at all—and you can maybe detect a certain sense of lassitude in the album's moodier and more melancholy moments. So be thankful that Cortex has managed to transform bitterness into something sweeter, and that his belief in letting the music speak for itself means we shouldn't have believed a word he said about hanging up for good.