Cybotron: “The Golden Ratio (Version)”

Detroit techno as we know it—which means, effectively, techno as we know it—began with the sleek synths, driving drum programming, and coolly futurist aura of Cybotron. The duo of Juan Aktins and Richard Davis began drafting their blueprint on 1981’s “Alleys of Your Mind” and 1982’s “Cosmic Cars”; by their 1983 debut album, Enter, they had laid the foundations of the genre. Now, 40 years later—and 27 since Cybotron’s last release, “Cosmic Raindance”—Atkins revives the project.

This time, rather than the reclusive Davis, Atkins is joined by a new collaborator: Laurens von Oswald, the curator of Berlin’s Atonal festival—and also, perhaps not coincidentally, the nephew of Basic Channel’s Moritz von Oswald, with whom Atkins has collaborated multiple times, beginning with the early-’90s project 3MB and continuing up through their duo project Borderland in the mid 2010s. The moody instrumental cut is propelled by the same snapping syncopations that distinguished all of Cybotron’s classic work; what has changed this time is the sumptuousness of the production. Where the original duo’s early songs presented an eerie, skeletal take on funk, with synthetic basslines snaking ominously through brittle electronic drums, the textures of “The Golden Ratio (Version)” are soft and expansive, luminous clouds of synthesizer billowing around dry, flinty snares. The track testifies to just how fully formed Atkins’ vision of techno was right from the start: After all this time, he still sounds like nobody but himself.