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Planetary Assault Systems – GT (remixes) review

After a long period in the wilderness, Luke Slater’s return last year under the Planetary Assault Systems guise was one of most inspired techno comebacks of recent times. The fact that his new output, including the Temporary Suspension album was audibly influenced by harder European techno that had in turn been influenced by earlier PAS work gave his reappearance the kind of perfect symmetry that is coincidentally replicated here. And so to this latest remix package: James Ruskin’s take on “GT” weaves filtered percussive stabs over a morass of dense, rolling bass, and Function & Sydenham’s version is a faultless Sandwell-style deployment, its niggling acid line insinuating itself among the resonating kicks and epic claps that have ‘main room at Berghain’ written all over them.

Despite these inspired efforts, it’s Slater’s own remixes as PAS that impress the most. Surprisingly though, the “Drone” version is not quite the full-on assault we may have expected, its barely contained menace tempered by bursts of feedback and its pulsing groove coming across like a distant cousin to PAS’s “Surface Noise” on Peacefrog. However, Slater has no problem bringing out the heavy artillery, and the two ‘Rhythm & Beats’ versions distil the original down to the essence of techno functionalism. The second one is a relentlessly grainy rhythm track caked in six inches of black dance floor sludge, while the first take is centred on heavy, industrial drum patterns that is guaranteed to annihilate anything –  speakers, crowds and venues –  it comes into contact with. Chose your weapons wisely…

Richard Brophy