PLANETARY ASSAULT SYSTEMS
Planetary Assault Systems is the legendary, harder-edged techno project from the UK's Luke Slater, and this is his first full-length effort after more than 7 years. Temporary Suspension is released as a continuous mix of 10 tracks on CD, as well as 6 single tracks on a double 12", and defies any current sound trends. However, Slater himself states that it's "time to bring the funk and intensity back in a new way. Time to open the sound again." In addition to funk and intensity, Slater manages to create an industrial strength and energy that has evolved over the years -- ranging from aggressive techno to very deep and melancholy pieces that still retain an alien feeling. The first track "Open Up" sets the pace for things to come, already, with a driving groove and a thunderstorm of synths cutting through a confusing melody of chimes. Subsequently, the loud and fast "Whoodoo" dives deep into the primordial blend of techno, using an uncompromising, metallic percussion. "Om The Def" takes the foot off the gas pedal, marking one of the album's definite highlights by using an arrangement of bongos and a funky, distorted bass line oscillating between dense and airy aggregate states. "Hold It" is an unbelievably sexy Chicago house stomper reminiscent of a modern version of an Amando track. "Attack Of The Mutant Camels" fascinates with its noise and bleep fest, complete with a decelerated rhythm and a fierce bass line. On "Gateway To Minia" he loses the beat in favor of gloomy ambient synth chords culminating in a cacophony of noise. But the album does not end here, as he brings back the kick on "Sticker Men" one last time with the crowd firmly set in his sights. Luke Slater's sonic vision on Temporary Suspension as a rough and highly energetic sound hardly comes as a surprise, as he has continually tested and pushed his musical boundaries ever since releasing his first tracks in 1989. Planetary Assault Systems has always been Luke's pseudonym for hard and uncompromising techno, and almost all of his releases on Peacefrog have become classics of the genre. Luke has never been satisfied with exploring just one aspect of music, and is well-known for his eccentricity and rebelliousness, aspects that have held his audience captive in his extraterrestrial light-beam of past, present, and future. Heavy, grinding techno cuts that will most definitely rank as the best of 2009.
M-Plant presents a remastered special edition of Robert Hood's classic Minimal Nation, 15 years after it changed the face of techno -- including rare and unreleased tracks as well as an exclusive bonus mix CD. This album is justly revered as one of the most important and defining techno records ever made. Hood's iconic masterpiece, originally released on Jeff Mills' Axis label in 1994, stripped dance music back to the barest elements, yet retained a loose and dirty funk that many so-called "minimal" records lack today. Having inspired thousands of producers and DJs across the globe, and starting a genre a decade before it was popularly recognized, nothing before or since has sounded like it. Featuring the unreleased "SH-101" (made during the same sessions) and the very rare "Self-Powered" (which only appeared on the Axis test press), Robert Hood's Minimal Nation gets its first full CD release here. When first issued as a vinyl double-pack, Minimal Nation not only sounded unlike any other record, but also looked like no other -- with each track finishing in a locked groove that forced the listener to flick the needle to the next track. Each groove was built from harsh angular elements that, when combined, created an alien funk not bereft of warmth or soul -- a sound so unique that its single spark echoed around the world and took electronic music into new, uncharted territory. As Hood himself stated, "In order to maximize the feeling of the music, sometimes we have to subtract." In a world full of generic and similar-sounding records, Robert Hood's music jumps straight out of a DJ's set. While many more have joined the cause or jumped on the bandwagon, for Robert, "minimalism" remains just as much a way of life as a musical artform. To this day, Minimal Nation remains the benchmark, the ground zero of "minimal" -- the first record to conceptually take the Pavlovian principle of less is more straight to the dancefloor with its insistent loops and surging funk patterns. As Hood concludes, "Regardless of its diminutive nature, one should never underestimate the neural potency of minimalism." This special edition is released with an exclusive Minimal Nation mix CD from Robert, including tracks on the album plus excerpts of other tracks dropped in live with a sequencer -- excerpts taken from Stereotype, "Darkroom" (from Nighttime World Volume 2), "The Core" (from the Internal Empire EP), The Protein Valve, "Externus Oblique" (from Movable Parts Chapter 2), "Strativarius" ("The Puppeteer," Movable Parts Chapter 2), "One Touch" (from Hoodmusic 3), "...And Then We Planned Our Escape" (from Hoodmusic 3).
This is the second full length release by Alan Abrahams as Bodycode for Spectral Sound. Differing from his output as Portable, these tracks have itchy feet and busy brains, chugging along at a brisk clip while cramming in enough rhythmic detail to make one's head spin. Alan grew up in post-Apartheid South Africa, where polyrhythmic percussion first entered his bloodstream; he then lived in Portugal for years, sweating it out in Lisbon's club scene while absorbing the sounds of electronic dance music and releasing tracks via numerous aliases. Three years after releasing 2006's The Conservation of Electric Charge (SPC 037CD/LP) on Spectral Sound, the man known as Bodycode moved from Lisbon to Berlin. Now, Teutonic house music's taut, jacking rhythms form the core of Immune. The album opens with the super-sub-bass pulse and cool atmospherics of "Meaning And Memory," a track which already sounds worlds away from Conservation's tech-y clicks 'n cuts. Following that track's sleek efficiency is "Hyperlight," a galloping, end-over-end beat chasing endlessly after an elusive vocal sample that always seems one step ahead of the kick drum. Vocal samples humanize Immune's technological edge, providing heavy-lidded narration on lead single "What Did You Say" and lending the click-clacking "Imitation Lover" an old-school diva charm. Immune's closing moments are some of its loveliest, as the title track dresses up its drum-machine beat in chillingly distant piano chords and some low-slung gospel harmonies. Fittingly, Bodycode's biggest musical step forward features a chorus of baritones aptly warbling, "Nothing in this world is immune from change."
VA: Cocoon Compilation I
Cocoon's hotly-anticipated letter series of inspired dance-music compilations reaches letter "I." Like each year, Cocoon and Sven Väth set standards and cement reputations with a collection of the hottest and most exclusive tracks in contemporary techno, having generated smash hits from the likes of "Geht's Noch?" or "Mückenschwarm," as on previous installments of the series. This edition is particularly focused on house, beginning with the debut of eMT, a collaboration between Tobi Neumann and his partner Matthew Styles, who will enchant the dancefloor with their warm, organic sound. Lauhaus present their percussive and Detroit-dub style "Back To Ipanema," while Secret Cinema lift hands in the air with the highly-harmonic house tune "Kurzweil." Detroit's M_nus ambassador Gaiser takes the path of reduced deepness with his hypnotic trip-house in "Am I," and this is not the only surprise: Matthew Edwards aka Radio Slave's highly-anticipated first track for Cocoon is a glorious Wild Pitch revival with constant layers of sound, a pumping bass kick and an organ that would even make DJ Pierre proud. And once again, Timo Maas lets you totally lose yourself for 11 minutes with his space-y, alarm siren disco-funk. Twelve more tracks reveal the best and brightest artists of this year, and those who are sure to shine far into the future. Other artists include: Tim Green & Emerson Todd, Chymera, Johnny D, Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts, Kabuto & Koji, and Kollektiv Turmstrasse.
This is the debut solo album by Switzerland's Mirko Loko (Lazy Fat People) and his first appearance on Cadenza. With Seventynine, Mirko takes us even deeper into his musical imagination, celebrating the communal ideal of dance music with spirited, percussive tracks. But Mirko also diverges from the dancefloor, ducking into shadowy corners in search of more private emotions. With its groaning sub-bass and flickering percussive flashes, "Sidonia" echoes the dubby, drifting melancholy of classic Warp records. Bells and voices lend an atmosphere of shimmering energy that's carried over into "Around The Angel," which is propelled by intricate polyrhythms and uplifting female vocals. "Love Harmonic" possesses a classic, melodic sound inspired equally by Detroit and Sheffield, as lean drum-machine patterns entwine with loping congas, and lush strings color everything delicate shades of yellow and rose. "On Fire" marks a 180 degree turn, pursuing a scorched-earth policy in nearly 9 minutes of techno intensity. After that, "Astral Vacuum" offers necessary respite via a short, beatless passage of strings and abstract sound, before Mirko takes us once again into the breach with "Bluebook," a lean, focused groove battered by metallic drums and shot through with voices and bleeps ripped from radio transmissions. "Shadow" is deep and melancholic, with a booming 808 kick underpinning ragged, gleaming chords and frayed strings. "Tahktok" features a children's chant rising over a primal beat and scraps of Bulgarian folk song. With "Le Monologue d'Orfeu," Mirko returns to one of his limpid, endlessly unspooling, headlong grooves. "Altrove" is 2 minutes of molten strings and electronic birdcall you wish could go on forever. But there's one more dance to be had: "You Know Where," which rises from a wooden, skippy rhythm into a string-laden celebration of techno at its most melodic -- its deep, sung/grunted bass line serving as the warm, pulsing heart for this massive, man/machine mover. It's a glorious finish to an album that never takes its eyes off the horizon, sending it up, over and beyond. Seventynine is ultimately all about the journey, as it travels between Lausanne, Detroit and outlying points on electronic music's map. Mirko's travelogue bridges the gap between a classic Motor City influence and Cadenza's own nomadic aesthetic, firing up dancefloors and fueling the imagination.