Juan Rico aka Reeko continues to fine-tune his dark and often abstract take on techno under his Architectural guise with Amour, a perfect mix between straightforward techno and ambient passages. Rico is a consistent and reliable ambassador of a Spanish techno scene that has brought forth artists ranging from Oscar Mulero to Tadeo. Under his Architectural alias, Rico has developed a penchant for perfectly interlocking sonic elements and for a structural sensibility that delivers on the promises of advanced engineering implied by his artist's pseudonym. So just what kind of architecture is in store for listeners on this album? One immediately gets the impression of something massive and towering, yet open to the elements and with a fascinating view of the surrounding landscape for miles around. This feel comes through especially clear on the opening "Aura," the poignant and chorally inflected "Il Mare," and the closing "Sentir." In Rico's imaginary structures one can feel both the wind on one's face and the steady, unfaltering pulse of the power grid. This is the case with the remarkably colorful "Lacrimosa," which is powered by a "vintage futuristic" solo synth singing over a backing chorus of chopped and chattering electric current. It also holds true for "Delicatezza," in which a huge, yawning orchestral swell repeatedly crashes down like ocean waves upon the supporting structure of Rico's techno towers. These moments of cinematic and climactic beauty would, on their own, be enough material for an outstanding work, but there is still more; tracks like "Sapphire" take a more straightforward hypnotic techno approach (only relatively speaking, though -- in Rico's hands a "straightforward" track is still one that uses atmospheric subtleties, organic effects, and a balanced EQ mix to maintain a healthy distance from more conformist exercises). When Rico truly gives himself room to stretch out -- as on the epic "Amour" -- he also shows how easily he can turn the challenge of a lengthy track into an opportunity for more innovation and further elaboration of his key concepts. "Amour" acts very much as the centerpiece of the album, morphing from a scintillating piece of celestial ambience to a busy groove-train loaded with a cargo of unexpected percussive and melodic fills. For listeners who value both lush musical dreamscapes and hard excursions into concrete reality, Amour is the perfect antidote to the conventional album, and a welcome companion on listeners' own journeys into new dreams and realities.