In the beginning, Rrose made techno. Unusual techno, perhaps—heady, psychedelic, convoluted—but techno nonetheless. It maintained the genre’s recognizable form, based on four-on-the-floor beats and boom-tick cadences. It drew its minimalist aesthetic from the early-’90s sounds of artists like Robert Hood and Richie Hawtin, and it was in conversation with fellow travelers along the genre’s grayscale fringes—contemporaries like Sandwell District, Donato Dozzy, and Kangding Ray.

Rrose—American-born, London-based artist Seth Horvitz, who borrowed the alias from Marcel Duchamp’s femme alter ego—has simultaneously moonlighted in more avant-garde sounds. They collaborated with modular-synth pioneer and free improviser Bob Ostertag and recorded a 1971 composition by percussionist James Tenney. Rrose’s debut solo album, 2020’s Hymn to Moisture, struck a balance between their opposing influences, alternating between chugging rhythmic workouts and buzzing expanses of pure drone.

On their new album Please Touch, Rrose continues to move between sounds that flicker and sounds that throb, wreathing shuddering electronic pulses in opalescent waveshaping. But the proportions have shifted. Where Hymn to Moisture was neatly split between club tracks and ambient pieces, on Please Touch, the elements have fused, and it’s more difficult to discern one mode from the other. It’s all one glistening, churning morass, a cascading chain of vibrations that transcends electronic music’s conventional templates.

Rhythm and drone are inextricable in the opening “Joy of the Worm,” in which a nervous gamelan thrum taps away over low-end swells. There’s something almost rotor-like about the chopping percussion, suggesting a helicopter hovering motionless over a fetid swamp: The drums are in constant motion, yet the whole thing stays almost still, but for the rolling waves of bass. Other tracks attempt similar blends of motion and stasis. “Pleasure Vessels” is dub techno in the tradition of Basic Channel or the Chain Reaction label, just with all the beats blotted out; bursts of synth pile up over almost inaudibly burbling bass, suggesting overlapping layers of translucent materials, like onion skin or tulle.

There are a few purely beatless tracks, like “Disappeared” and the closing “Turning Blue,” in which microtonal harmonies and extraordinarily patient mixing yield immersive psychoacoustic effects in the tradition of Pauline Oliveros or Éliane Radigue. And on a few cuts, the balance tips back toward proper beats. Yet Rrose’s work is so rhythmically and timbrally complex that it bears little in common with standard contemporary dance music. “Rib Cage” begins with a machine-like hum and gradually spreads a flowing array of pulses and pings across the spectrum, from the deepest sub-bass to the prickliest high end. Superimposing insect chatter on turbine groan, it’s part engine room, part rainforest.

Rrose has described their approach as a process of feeding “seed” sounds through “elaborate webs of interrelated audio processing,” which might help explain why these tracks tend to develop in the way that they do, as if expanding outward from a single point, like an organic fractal. They often feel like attempts to map out chaos theory’s “butterfly effect”—the metaphorical postulation that a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the planet might cause a tsunami on the other—in sound. “The Illuminating Glass” begins as the album’s most stripped-down track, just a half-speed kick drum and answering hi-hat swathed in noxious clouds of synth. But as it unfolds, individual drum hits ripple out in waves, and after a few minutes, every single element of the track is quivering violently. It’s a profoundly disorienting effect; you may find yourself snapping to attention and wondering exactly how you’ve gotten where you are. And in the track’s closing minutes of seesawing whirr, as the beats melt away, you may wonder if you had imagined them entirely.

There are few mile markers in Rrose’s music, few opportunities to get your bearings. Weirder and more mystifying than the majority of what passes for techno these days, Please Touch plays tricks on the mind and body. Like those carnival rides where the ground drops away, leaving you pinned to the wall of the rotating chamber, it’s dance music that erases the dancefloor, even as it makes you acutely aware of the physics of sound—the way the tiniest vibrations propagate into your ear canals and across your skin.