Mind Wander. Sam Willis, Winterval.

When you think techno, to where does your mind wander? It's an inquisition I've spent an undue amount of time wondering of late: down to the more ambient end of the spectrum, or bang up to acid? To that which is cultivated to slowly grow into something of a minimalist and intrinsically sterile poignancy, or the sort to be obstreperously blared at a disemboweling throb from a hellacious basement rooted in the suburban nether zones of your average megapolis? Its Detroit origins and Chicago upbringings have long since been bastardised; brutalised by many beyond all recognition so here is now, and now torchbearers operating within the parameters of the genre have an opportunity to redefine as they see fit. Nobody is better equipped so to do than Sam Willis.

Alongside complice italiano Alessio Natalizia, Willis constructs Walls. And Walls' Coracle is a progressive groover to have already done similar things on the floors of the newly sluiced disco genre as Willis here does to techno. Willis is a mover, and Coracle is a magnum opus when it comes to all manner of electronica. If you've yet to overindulge, well, I hereby bestow copious amounts of shame upon you.

But as we worm forever deeper into the darker half of the year, how cogently does Winterval assume this mission of redefinition? With compulsion, and conviction, and some of the goddamn craftiest dance tracks copied and pasted to recent memory.

Appositely, its greyscale sleeve artwork depicts a smattering of wave bashing against a craggy coastline and just as a rolling undulation of ocean may, Winterval builds to a central crest. That crest is Frozen/Cirrus: a pulsating maelstrom of skittering, synthetic rhythms, swells of Moog-y beauty, a deep thump that pounds with a motorik insistency as though hyperactive shipping noise this, the centrepiece itself intensifies as it works up to the moment at which it fizzes over in effervescent buoyancy. One to have Kieran Hebden's ever-present father carving shapes never before seen to its overwhelmingly polyphonic euphony, for sure.

Though we've already frothed at the mouth over this cut, thus it's elsewhere that Willis is to prove himself. Weird Science computes almost as may a conventional rock track – one fuelled by the jump-up ludicrousness of Jean Michel Jarre – whilst Foxglissandro glisters with a forlorn form of ever ersatz bale. Where Walls triumphed over all was in their ability to extract an almost tangible sense of human touch from music that was, ultimately, almost entirely processed and abetted by machines. And although Natalizia's guitars are a notable absent for the most part, Winterval blossoms with that same feel of tender, anthropomorphic caress. An unheard of within the often unwelcoming boundaries of techno.

The title track ups the ante and then the menace – it's as though a lonesome Danilo Plessow lost in Underworld's Barking – and Seven Down Six Across pieces together a neat mesh of builds, fades, and phased guitars underpinned by an inviting, and more orthodox techno pump. A thought is spared, even, for a more atonal drone escapade in the form of eldritch outro Twirled With Your Slight Fingers, as ominous moans meet with incantatory groans in the presence of dull languor. This one's less Underworld and more Benjamin John Power playing the accursed cameo of Charon in a Lynchian Hades.

Thus whilst most dance acolytes may look to smash it in, and with this eternally ambiguous it their own brains with amphetamines and the acerbic dribble of which much modern electronic drivel tastes, Sam Willis here strives for something altogether more cerebral. And by Jove, by and large, I think he's hit the nail bang-on: Winterval is what techno now is, or rather at least could be...