Review: It's hard to believe that Cocoon is celebrating its 20th anniversary, but what's not difficult to grasp is that Sven Vath's imprint is marking the occasion in style. Rampa and Emanuel Satie kick-start this compilation with emotive, tranced out tracks - in particular Rampa's "2000" is particularly poignant - while Cocoon mainstays like Gregor Tresher and Ricardo Tobar up the pace with the musical but clubby techno of "Nostalgia (Is The Enemy)" and "El Eterna" respectively. As always, Cocoon strikes a flawless balance between showcasing local producers and international names; 20 Years is no exception and features frazzled acid from Josh Wink as well as steely percussive bangers courtesy of Planetary Assault Systems and Jacek Sienkiewicz.
Review: The idea that music should stay away from politics is flawed, and Break The Silence is one of the most convincing counter-arguments against this notion. Featuring unreleased tracks donated by a stellar cast of underground electronic music artists, the compilation seeks to raise funds for Campaign Zero, an initiative that campaigns against police violence in the US. With artists like Rob Hood, 4 Hero and Luke Slater all contributing to Break The Silence, the listener really is spoilt for choice while also supporting a great cause. However, the standouts come from Eddie Fowlkes and Jon Dixon, who both drop superb jazz-influenced house tracks.
Review: Plantae is Luke Slater's seventh artist album as Planetary Assault Systems and his fourth for Ostgut. If you're looking for forward-looking club techno, you've come to the right place. The album opens with the indistinct tones of "Red", before "Whip it Good" takes up the mantle and sees Slater deliver a tougher take on this sound, powered by hissing percussion and tough kicks. Meanwhile "Kamani" is a deeper, more understated take on this style. "Spell A" is a more stripped back affair, resounding to tight percussion and a rolling groove, while "Mugwort" calls to mind Slater's 90s work under this guise, with a hypnotic rhythm underscoring a cacophony of atmospheric sounds.
Review: Following on from the re-release of his debut album, The Electric Funk Machine as Planetary Assault Systems, Luke Slater releases the first new material under the project's name since 2017. As always, Straight Shooting is a mesmerising affair: "Beam Riders" kicks off the release with a pulsating, driving groove, while on "Born Anchors", the storied UK artist delivers a pile-driving rhythm that resounds to ticking, clicking percussion. "Humans Use Concrete" sees Slater revert to the 90s sound of Planetary Assault Systems, featuring a dense, looped arrangement, while "Engage Now" is a gargantuan roller that plays out against a backdrop of layered noise and insane frequency shifts.
Review: UK don Luke Slater returns with the fourth instalment of Deep Heet. The last edition released in 2012 on his esteemed Mote Evolver imprint is recognised by those that know as some of the most reliable techno tools in recent years: who can forget the sinister hypnotism of "Flat Tire": what a classic! You can bet there's yet more austere and ergonomic tracks for serious DJ use on offer here. Starting off with the driving and cyclical grunt of "Desert Races", then the tunnelling and trance inducing bell melody of "Life Rhythm". Then the full throttle intergalactic charge of Random Kingdom and the dystopian minimalism of "Lazer Organical" which would make even Mike Parker stand up and notice! Slater is still without doubt one of the most singular talents in techno, respect!
Review: British techno stalwart Luke Slater is now two decades into his ongoing Planetary Assault Systems adventures. To celebrate, he's handed over tracks recorded over the last 20 years to a hand picked group of remixers. It's a faultlessly floor-focused affair, with Lucy, Steve Bicknell, Function and Slam - whose acid-fired re-make of "Temporary Suspension" is an album highlight - all delivering typically no-nonsense interpretations of Slater's tracks. The producer himself delivers a handful of 'live edits' - versions created for his live shows - while Detroit legends Octave One smother "Booster" in classic Motor City melodies and the most positive of synthesizer refrains.
Review: Any new material from Luke Slater under the Planetary Assault Systems alias is something to celebrate, but rarely has the techno veteran dropped such an expansive set as Arc Angel. Boasting a positively overwhelming 20 tracks over three weighty slabs of vinyl, the first PAS album for five years is as spacey, hypnotic and intoxicating as anything in the British techno legend's vast catalogue. While mostly focused on atmospheric, Motor City influenced dancefloor futurism - and, let's face it, few do that better than Slater - Arc Angel also boasts a handful of inspired ambient cuts, some vintage, UK style "intelligent techno", and occasional nods towards UK contemporaries such as Surgeon, James Ruskin, Mark Broom and Oliver Ho.
Review: To mark the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of his label, James Ruskin has put together this massive compilation. It includes long-term friends and associates of the label - like Oliver Ho, Regis and Luke Slater - as well as newer additions to the roster, including Lakker and Rommek. Apart from uniting artists from different generations, the compilation also showcases the label's various hues; from the broken beats and intricate rhythms of Ruskin and Regis' O/V/R project and the hypnotic soundscapes of Lakker's "Orange" to the trace stabs and 10 tonne kicks of Regis' "Party Spoiler Too" and the chaotic industrial rhythms on Truss' "Wanastow", this compilation offers to newcomers an invaluable introduction to Blueprint, or to long-standing fans an indispensable reminder of why the label is unique.
Review: If the Acht release accommodates Panorama Bar's house sensibilities, then Sieben is sure to be played out on Berghain's main floor. That said, the seventh release in Ostgut's 10-strong series starts with Martyn in reflective mood. With its loose, tribal drums, ponderous vocal and dubby chords, "Jah Bedouin" could be the Dutch producer's own version of Bandulu's distinctive techno. Tobias and Atoma soon pick up the pace though, and their "Physik E7532" fuses steely claps and clanging rhythms with grimy acid lines. Luke Slater ramps up the intensity levels further with Planetary Assault System's "Hama Static", a bleep-heavy banger that will drill its way into your cranium.
Review: You have to admire Ostgut Ton's ambition. While celebrating a decade in dance music with a compilation of exclusive, previously unheard music is now standard practice amongst leading underground labels, few would have the balls to release it with such a killer tracklisting as Zehn. Across the 30 tracks (count 'em!) you get a who's who of Berghain and Panorama Bar associates delivering a quite outstanding selection of left-of-centre techno and deep European house, with Marcel Dettmann, Boris, Virginia, Steffi, DVS1, Martyn, Tobias and Ben Klock all featuring. Highlights naturally come thick and fast, from the spacey electronics, heady textures and hypnotic rhythms of Function's "DX3 Analog Bass Seq", and the rush-inducing, string-laden house warmth of Matthew Styles' remix of Dinky's "Planes", to the picturesque intelligent techno of Doms & Deykers.
Review: Woof! If you are looking for a massive slab of techno, you won't find anything as hefty as Aphelion. A package of tracks from Belgian label Token, Aphelion is essentially a primer for the best in contemporary techno, featuring contributions from Surgeon, Rodhad, James Ruskin, Karenn and Planetary Assault System alongside some label regulars. You will have probably already heard "Fixed Action Pattern" from Surgeon - it's possibly one of this year's finest techno tracks - but it's got some stiff competition here with Ruskin in particularly funked up form on "No Trace". Aphelion is a real statement and proof of Token's current rank as a European techno powerhouse alongside the likes of Delsin and Ostgut Ton.
Review: One of Europe's biggest electronic music parties sets out an impressive taster for this year's event. Mixed by French DJ/producer Brodinski, it moves from the deranged, siren-led "Slope" by Joe, through the swinging techno of Randomer's "Bring" and the chord-heavy groove of Brendon Moeller's take on Appleblim & Peverelist's "Over Here" before moving into more raw forms. This is articulated by the rough analogue jack of Marquis Hawkes' "Outta This Hood" and the firing, lean techno of Robert Hood's "Protein Valve (Edit 1). Brodinski also deserves kudos for dropping the grainy, surging bass and crisp drums of Claro Intelecto's rumbling electro killer, "Tone"
Review: While Luke Slater is busy as always, his Planetary Assault Systems output has slowed since the release of the all conquering Messenger LP for Ostgut Ton in 2011. For Future Modular, Slater is less visceral and more arpeggiated than previous releases, harking back to a '90s-early-2000s PAS-sound, specifically the title-track. On the B-sides there's the deep, trippy and linear "Serc", but before that there's a sinister "Riot In Silo" that's showered in 909-hi-hats to get through first.
Review: After the recent announcement of a forthcoming L.B Dub Corp album, Luke Slater's other alias, Planetary Assault Systems, provides its first transmission of 2013. Fans of "Bell Blocker" from PAS' stellar The Messenger album from 2011 will instantly warm to the cold chimes of "No Exit", while pink noise cushions the brooding, pitch-dark groove of "Undertow". Slater then introduces agitated mind games on the EPs inner B-side with "Nanendi", which sounds like a school of crickets trapped in a haunted cathedral of distant Gregorian chant.
Review: If you were to find yourself late one Sunday afternoon jostling for position in a reconditioned power station, surrounded by ubermensch males, it's likely you're in Deep Heet. Techno music doesn't get much more self explanatory than this. "Voltan" is the most club-indulgent of the four track EP. A wall of undulating PAS noise shifts in and around a thrumming bassline. and the only audible deviation of instrumentation comes via pattering snares. Pent tensions encircle "Pygar" which gradually cools, as Slater reduces the track back to its original framework. "Turn" sheds the low end and fizzle of the aforementioned tracks, focusing on hypnotic and bleeping loops and disturbing Hitchcock-like insignia, while Slater reintroduces his fearsome hiss on "Flat Tire" with gargantuan war horns.
Review: Two of the best tracks from Luke Slater's mighty Messenger album get the remix treatment. Under Silent Servant's care, "Bell Blocker" is transformed into an esoteric dance floor track. The hissing percussion that prevailed on the original is still audible, but the US producer deploys sonic blips over a pulsing, clinical groove - and offsets its functionality with a dreamy chord sequence. The Black Dog offer even more radical interpretations of "Beauty In The Fear". The Sheffield act's second version has some bearing on the original but once again spacey pads temper the splurging bass. However, it's the first 'Destroyed on Purpose' remix, with its gentle atmospheric ambience, that really rings changes to Slater's tortured techno.
Review: Luke Slater is a survivor. Not in the physical sense, even though he has lived enough for three people, but because two decades after the UK producer started putting out music, his latest album features moments where the listener is forced to admit that it follows a path that few others have dared to venture down. The main reason for Slater's ongoing artistic relevance is down to him opting for a new approach. Whereas during the golden age of UK techno he was writing his own rules as he went, gifting the world "Booster", "In From The Night" and My Wise Yellow Rug", in his modern-day incarnation he has learnt invaluable insights from the output of those he influenced, absorbing their nuances as a starting point. However, he then applies his own wonderfully skewed thinking, which explains the panning, whiplash rhythm of "Bell Blocker", a track that sounds both familiar and utterly alien, or "Wriss", which - unusually for Slater's techno productions - features a vocal snippet. Invariably, comparisons will be made to other Ostgut artists, but it's hard to imagine any of them daring to even imagine a track like "Rip The Cut". In true PAS form, the beats sound like they're exploding from the speakers as the bass patterns build and build to the point of distortion, tempered only by reverberating claps.