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Luke Slater: "Wireless"
(***)

Covert art

Brilliant electronica with attitude

Having only ever heard "All Exhale" from this album, this purchase was something of a gamble. I ran into this album in the record store today and thought to myself, "what the hell, I've been thinking about buying this for a while". I wasn't sure how much I liked "All Exhale", but it was good enough to spark my interest. I was expecting electronica that borders on house. That's not entirely what I got. Which is not a bad thing.

If you had to nail "Wireless" down to a genre, it would be - besides the obvious choice of the wonderful umbrella term "electronica" - big beat. It mixes and matches sonic elements as it pleases, as most records do, so don't let that categorization fool you. Because this album is not big beat like Fatboy Slim was on "You've Come A Long Way Baby" or like the Propellerheads were on "decksandrumsandrockandroll" - this album has less samples and more attitude. This is particularly apparent in "Hard Knock Rock" that spins those beats like the very finest electronica names I've ever had the pleasure of hearing of, with few samples - or perhaps with just some samples you haven't heard in other albums of this genre much. Either way, the result is surprising, fresh and rocking-steady hard.

"Wireless" is not melodic. Or harmonic. It's even quite atonal at times. And disturbing. Avantgarde, if you will. If you like it hard, you'll get it hard. Even though I am ever so fond with the likes of Lemon Jelly and Wagon Christ, this album is a refreshing change of pace, and not extreme to the point where it's hard to understand. Except for "Bolt Up", which really packs a punch, which is OK, but it's a track best enjoyed in solitude.

But just when you think you've heard all the album has to offer, it surprises you one more time. The ending, after the chaotic "Bolt Up", goes into an ambient trip that is one continuous journey through the last three tracks. The ending gives an entirely new spin to the album, and Luke Slater reveals a more serene and melodic - yet eerie - side in himself. There is a lot be heard in the ending, it's almost like the sounds of ones subconsciousness materialized. A beautiful ambient ending to an otherwise so dramatically rough album.

TOP TRACKS: Sheer Five Five, Hard Knock Rock, All Exhale

Tracklist

  1. In The Pocket
  2. Sum Ton Tin
  3. Hard Silence (Part One)
  4. Sheer Five Five [Sample]
  5. Let Eat All Vanbrook
  6. Body Freefall, Electronic, Inform
  7. You Butterfly
  8. Hard Knock Rock
  9. All Exhale [Sample]
  10. Bolt Up
  11. I Thought I Knew You
  12. Weave Your Web
  13. Out The Pocket
Image of CD

Nova Mute 1999

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Review by Saboteur


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