Planetary Assault Systems – Devotion
There’s something about Luke Slater’s techno that feels as if it has evolved beyond the dancefloor. As the icon himself has honed in on his craft and sonic sensibilities, layers have been revealed about what exactly makes him, and his 4/4s, tick. He’s obsessed, it seems, with the senses. His techno manages to transcend mere regular time sledgehammering by appealing to the tactile and at times psychedelic possibilities of techno’s hypnotic pulse. No more apparent is this trait than in Slater’s work under the Planetary Assault Systems moniker, a name under which he’s created some of his most mesmerising and interstellar work to date. Last year’s Sky Scraping is a good case in point, and lends credence to the idea that as PAS, Slater has created a cosmos for him to explore his wildest imagination.
Devotion, the new EP from Planetary Assault System, mostly continues the template laid out by Sky Scraping. Its title track was originally released on that album, but has been reissued here as a drum sequence masterpiece. Slater leans into toms and 909s, whipping up a propulsive and trance inducing pattern which he highlights with trippy vocal samples that slide in and out of the dissonance. The trance-psychedelic influences go deeper on Eden Tide, a previously unreleased track which looks toward the subaquatic as its alien planet of choice. The track is massive. Along a current of steady hi-hats, a school of wonky acid synths undulate and writhe, bioluminescent orbs of light in the darkness of Slater’s ever rolling depths. It’s highly evocative and atmospheric, plunging you right down into its maelstrom.
Slater’s two tracks are joined by respective remixes, with L.A’s Truncate sharpening Devotion’s edges for the dancefloor and Berghain resident Barker reworking Eden Tide. Of the two, Barker’s is an obvious standout. Almost an entirely new track in of itself, Barker pulls the fantastical from Eden Tide’s darkness and keys in on this. His remix is as wet with lashes of acid squiggles and slipperiness, but he gives Eden Tide a buoyancy and thrum that feels as if you’re riding on whaleback through a thriving, sun dappled underwater alien world. The juxtaposition between Slater’s abyssal original and Barker’s melodic twilight zone reinterpretation is stunning to experience back to back, and this journey alone makes the EP a surprisingly satisfying trip.
Listen to Eden Tide (Barker Remix) from Devotion below.
Follow Luke Slater