He’s a hard man, is [a]Luke Slater[/a]. See him battered and bloody on the sleeve of this, his second album, and see also the brutal tech-funk shapes within and it’s difficult not to conclude that here indeed is a bloke with something fairly important to say, though given his means of expression it could be anything. And in techno circles, that’s far more than most.
‘[a]Wireless[/a]’ picks up where the sinister mechanical soul of Slater‘s acclaimed 1997 debut, ‘Freek Funk‘, left off. But whereas that record was steeped in traditional techno manoeuvres, this finds the young Sussex producer in thrall to the highly-charged mannerisms of electro and breakbeat to such an extent that – perhaps unwittingly – he’s fashioned a furiously modern hip-hop sound; a breakdance music for ketamine kids.
In fact, had Leftfield returned with tracks as ingeniously mangled as the vocoder-ravaged ‘You Butterfly‘ and ‘All Exhale‘ then their lengthy hiatus might be justifiable. They didn’t, of course, and it’s left to Slater to run riot through an inspired collage of clipped rhythms and wired paranoia – the violent likes of ‘Sum Ton Tin‘ and ‘Bolt Up‘ rendering much of nu-skool-breakz guv’nors Freq Nasty and Rennie Pilgrem‘s voguish breakbeatery redundant.
Unquestionably the work of a man at the peak of his powers, ‘[a]Wireless[/a]’ places Slater, for now, in a dark, unsettling league of his own. Visit at your peril.