Increasingly, some of the most artistically poignant releases - those with the most subversive and innovative clout - exist within the far-reaching realms of alternative dance. Artists like Jon Hopkins, Zomby, Actress, along with countless others, are translating our physical environment via the progressive and constantly reinvented medium of avant-garde electronica.

Artificial textures, industrial soundscapes, hybridity, danceability - each broad feature existing in syncopated rhythm with our own technologically-infused age. The spaces we occupy - each with fibrous layers of the unnatural and organic - seem to find conceptual kin in these rich, synthetic environments. Dancing, increasingly, is only a secondary intention - collateral damage on a journey toward some kind of conceptual understanding.

Travis Stewart (aka Machinedrum) has always been at the forefront of this beckoning renaissance, with his latest export certainly no exception. Room(s), Stewart's debut foray into solo production, demonstrated a deft and innovative approach to genre deconstruction. Hip-Hop, Jungle, Footwork - each heavy with heritage yet readily re-envisaged by Stewart's forward-thinking production. He marked himself as a man of meta-narratives; music that's about, rather than confined by genres.

In the purest sense, Vapor City is a concept album. The provenance is this: Stewart is living between cities, Berlin and New York - cities he believes share a similar urban vibe. Nightly, however, he's visiting a third urban space, Vapor City, exploring this dystopian landscape through a series of recurring dreams. The proceeding album is essentially a sonic representation of these vivid nocturnal imaginings - with each track purposefully reflective of specific districts. Fluctuations in mood, tone and stylistic flourishes correlate with Stewart's journey through varying city environments and differing cultural or social sectors, a brave conceptual intention that's certainly realised with stunning lucidity.

'Gunshotta' - the album's opener and our first forage into the sinister spaces of Vapor City - is doubtlessly immersive. Murky Jungle rhythms, grubby low-end bass, the momentary lightness of crisp, synthetic vocals and a recurring, ragga sampled alter-ego. It's got the texture of sonic smog, perched in indeterminate limbo between the solid structures of Hip-Hop and the more liquid rhythms of D&B or Jungle.

However, it's by no means the most progressive track on the album. In fact, it's probably the safest and most digestible. Its accompanying video, which sees a group of youths undertaking weird urban rituals in the dark, foreboding corners of a dystopian city, is simply too obvious, too ineffective. Both video and track exist with too much clarity, the latter overly referential of genres, the former too clear cut - both oddly voyeuristic and contrived. As a single, 'Gunshotta' is terrific - I want to dance to it - but as the purveyor of something more conceptual, it's not entirely adequate.

The album in its totality, however, is a triumph. It journeys through a series of vivid sonic spaces, with multiple genres manipulated and blended. Jungle rhythms are adorned with more off-kilter syncopations; aggressive, high octane BPMs softened by experimental breaks and more intricate textures. Vocal blips, a classic footwork trope, constantly fade in and out of consciousness. Referencing Stewart's previous collaboration with glitch-hop producer Lone, 'Center your Love' is slick and spacious, a weave of vast and multiple textures, yet still clean and propulsive. 'U Still Lie' surfaces late in the album's less than linear running order. It's heavy with brooding, industrial beats and the climactic, electro-pop minimalism of 80s film soundtracks, whisking us, once again, to a new and contrasting environment.

As an album, it's not attempting to refine and condense any single style, but instead attempts to construct an eclectic and conflicting environment, in which dance tropes, production hallmarks and stylistic idiosyncrasies both clash and coexist. Conceptually, it's layered in a way that mimics the modern city, especially the vast, diverse, urban sprawl of New York. Jungle, D&B, Hip-Hop, UK Bass music, each has its own connecting sub culture. Each feeds and threads into something deeper - a set of attitudes, living environments, social standing, swathes of preconceptions.

Stylistically, Vapor City is astute and progressive, but its merits don't just lie in its innovations. Stewart's commitment to the albums conceptual element is fascinating, listening is immediately extra-dimensional, more alluring. Details, changes in textures and radical reverses in rhythm - each element holds cinematic qualities that build and develop a sense of environment, an environment that requires, if not demands, the listeners further cognition.

On a final note, if there is (heaven forbid) a remake of 80s cult classic Blade Runner (Ridley Scott's vivid, dystopian projection of a wasted and rotten world), I'd genuinely like to see Machinedrum soundtrack it. Just a thought, but it would be fantastic.