No Pain In Pop is one of the most consistent alt-dance labels in existence right now, and have unearthed another diamond in Finnish producer/composer Ukkonen, whose highbrow, cerebral approach to dance recalls the glory days of Rephlex Records and the seminal Braindance Coincidence.

Ukkonen himself claims to have "zero interest in dance music"; but despite the variety and complexity of time signatures and melodies on offer here, it is undoubtedly music rooted in the dance genre.

The accompanying press release describes Ukkonen's 'prophetic talent' in great depth. Listing influences from Bartok to Squarepusher to Jimi Hendrix (not convinced on that last one), the album apparently makes use of 'mensuration canons' (one melody simultaneously played at different speeds by different voices to create its own accompaniment), 'isorhythms' (a fixed series of pitches run through a fixed rhythm at odds with the time signature) and 'simultaneous tempos' (basically just speeding up and slowing down). This is all well and good, but what does it actually sound like?

Put simply, if you like Aphex Twin and his ilk, you will immediately recognise the forces at play in the extravagantly titled The Ancient Tonalities of.... Ukkonen is not an iconoclast, despite what the press bumf says. Despite this, there is a lot to enjoy here. 'A New Technique' has a conversational, wandering structure, punctuated by repetitive melodic strains in the call-and-response format which the producer favours. The track bounces along at a solid pace for much of its running time, before... hang on, it's a simultaneous tempo! The pace is disrupted and stuttering synth lines emerge to form a new order.

'Eighteen Pitches' begins in a settled and complex weave of organs. The beat, interwoven with a complex sub bass line, rises slowly from the depths. A snare appears on the backbeat, and for the first time it becomes clear that Ukkonen enjoys confounding traditional dance music tropes. Listened to closely, the entire beat appears to be backwards. Trying to work out the time signature is almost impossible. I'd settled on 15/8 until I started to count a 14 beat bar that appeared to be interspersed as well, which would put us in 29/16 territory, which is frankly too ghastly to consider.

Thankfully, in the grand scheme of things, the time signature really doesn't matter. While classically trained dance producers are fairly common these days, classically trained dance audiences I'd guess to be a little rarer. So by the time we've reached 'Viva Las Huelgas', we're into jittery, warm tracks with some gorgeous low-lying hi hat rhythms which harks back to the true spiritual fathers of this kind of thing; Mr Twin and Mr Pusher. While Ukkonen is quite along way off reaching the heights of Richard D. James, the more thoughtful, ominous creations that close the album manage to carve out some nicely haunting (and oddly straight) house.

My main criticism is nothing to do with the pretensions of structure, and everything to do with appearance. You sense that Ukkonen is an excellent architect of rhythm and tone; where he lacks something is in his synthesis of memorable instrumentation. Where there should be cutting edge sounds to support the engineering of the whole edifice, the producer sometimes chooses run-of-the-mill keyboards and drum sounds that can get lost in each other. It's a shame, but not unforgivable.