When talking electronic dance music, no club freak mistakes Ohio for Michigan, the birthplace of techno. But at least the Buckeye State can lay claim to several gifted DJs and producers, including Dan Curtin, Morgan Geist, Girl Talk, and Jeff Samuel. Having grown up in Cleveland, Samuel now resides in Europe, where he's made a name for himself more as a DJ than producer. Nevertheless, his formidable productions regularly snake their way into other elite DJs' sets. Step
, Samuel's debut full-length after nearly a decade of 12-inch EPs, spotlights his exacting skill for wringing maximum dance-floor bang through frugal means. Samuel expertly contours his tracks with vibrant rhythms and catchy textural eccentricities. And unlike most techno artists, Samuel conjures hummable melodies that in a perfect world would bop straight to the top of the charts.