Building on the promise of nearly 10 years testing limits within club music, Batu presents his debut album Opal. Experimentation is a well-established facet of Omar McCutcheon’s identity within the leftfield techno zeitgeist, but more than ever on Opal he seizes the opportunity to incorporate ideas beyond dancefloor impetus into his animated, forward-leaning sound. Through the course of 11 tracks, rhythmic forms are mutated and manipulated, sonic matter bends across the frequency range and narrative structures coalesce and dissolve according to Batu’s own internal logic. Unpredictability lies at the heart of all this music, bound together by a consistent modernist glint. It’s a sound intrinsically connected to the superlative string of club 12”s, EPs and collaborations Batu has spun behind him thus far, even as it moves into unfamiliar terrain, guided by abstract inspiration from coastal landscapes and the mineral matter all life on Earth is built on. On Opal the visceral production isn’t necessarily geared towards shock tactics. Instead, emotional depths are explored through melodic and textural forms which take on an elemental quality. It’s a space which can accommodate the explicit heart and soul of the human voice, as recent collaborator serpentwithfeet demonstrates weaving a mesmerising vocal through ‘Solace’, but it can also take in broad sweeps of interpretive landscape. There’s also room for small fragments of instrumentation, recorded by Memotone, processed by Batu and subtly threaded throughout the album. Balancing micro and macro in specific sounds as much as moods, Batu’s finely-sculpted work calls to mind the immensity of passing time cast in cliff faces, and the intimate personal growth we experience in our own lifetimes. Mimicking the iridescent stone it takes its name from, Opal refracts Batu’s distinctive artistic imprint, giving us a deeper, more revealing impression of the artist as he explores ideas bigger – and indeed smaller.