Another classic release from WARP records who, with Aphex Twin, Autechre, Plaid, and others, have had an impressive list of cutting edge techno artists on their books. The genre-defying 'Spanners' demonstrates the Black Dog's apparent fascination with all things alien ('Chase the Manhattan' features samples of interviews with Roswell 'witnesses'), ancient (the Egyptian style artwork), and in places ambient. A sort of musical equivalent of the Stargate film.
The album has a far richer and diverse sound than previous release 'Bytes' beginning with the almost funk sound of 'Aaxmus' ranging through mid-east influences ('Tahr') to its ambient endings. This is certainly not techno to pack the dance floors with Balearic ravers. It is far more subtle and far less 'safe' than that - one of those rare albums that is prepared to push boundaries and take risks to achieve something altogether more exciting. Up-tempo paranoid techno-beeps are satisfyingly provided early with tracks such as 'Barbola Work' and 'Psil-Cosyin' while the album increasingly mellows towards the latter stages arriving via the chilled breaks of 'Pot Noddle' at the classical in style and exquisitely uncomplicated harp-esque 'Chesh'.
Along with Future Sound of London's 'Lifeforms' this was one of the essential and most influential techno albums of the mid-nineties and still sounds fresh today. Indeed similarities in the sounds between this and splinter group Plaid's 2001 release 'Double Figure' highlight how 'now' Spanners still sounds. After the release of 'Bytes' a few years previously this is not quite how it all began, but is certainly an essential album for anyone interested in the development of the techno sound.