Orbiting the ‘Red Planet’

A tour of Underground Resistance’s much loved ‘Red Planet’ record label

Underground Resistance aka U.R. is a label for a movement, a movement that wants change by sonic revolution. An outfit who’s mission and call is full frontal sonic resistance to combat the medicore audio and visual programming being fed to the inhabitants of Earth. A movement dedicated to bringing down the walls between races and increasing world brought peace by using the untapped energy potential of sound.

First formed in 1989 by all round local hero and talented musician “Mad” Mike Banks alongside the now world renown Techno icon DJ Jeff Mills. From its inception, U.R. was formed to relate the aesthetics of early Detroit Techno to the social, political, and economic circumstances, which followed on from Reagan-era inner-city economic recession. A self constructed, community focused vehicle for producing uncompromising music geared toward promoting awareness and facilitating political change, all set to appeal to lower class African Americans in Detroit. Simply communicating it’s mission through sound: to bring people of all different nationalities together under one roof to enjoy themselves.

We highly encourage reading and watching through some of the following if you haven’t:

Jockey Slut’s 1994 interview with Mad Mike

The Wire’s 1997 interview Mad Mike Banks

Underground Resistance on Electronic Beats TV

Mike Banks, Carola Stoiber & Dimitri Hegemann on Detroit & Techno

Roland: “Somewhere in Detroit”: Underground Resistance

Over 3 decades on, the outfit and label are very much interwoven into the story and fabric of underground electronic music and the city of Detroit – a fully fledged institution at the cornerstone of the local community via their very own Submerge Records and Exhibit 3000 space in the city.

Red Planet Records

Having first appeared as far back as 1992, Red Planet Records was set up as one of U.R.’s sublabel / offshoots and ran until 2010. Only clocking up only 14 releases in the process, sometimes there is something to be said for the maxim “less is more”.

Not to take away from the fantastically rich discography and the many incredible releases on U.R. itself. Red Planet is just one of those golden threaded series that when you pick up and examine in closer details, almost seems to be greater than the sum of it’s parts.

With every record featuring variations on the name “The Martian” which are credited to a producer named ‘Will Thomas’ or ‘Martian 044’, what you do find is appearances from the likes of Eddie Flashin Folkes, Model 500, Drexciya, The Suburban Knight, Octave One and Galaxy 2 Galaxy. Whilst one might sensibly attribute the backbone of the series to U.R. frontman Mike Banks’ gifted musical touch, some sources have also cited Gerald Mitchell (part of Galaxy2Galaxy and Los Hermanos) as having had a hand in the making of these records too. Whilst we don’t have a definitive answer (today), we’re happy to shine a light and give full credit where it’s due (so do reach out if you’re reading).

There’s something both otherworldly and deeply enchanting about the series that makes each and every release a gem in it’s own right. Worthy of hunting down to add to your shelves, (alongside many other U.R. releases) here’s a selection of cuts we wanted to share and give you a taste of Detroit’s finest tribute to the forth rock from the sun:

The Martian – Lost Transmission From Earth (1992)

The Martian – Cosmic Movement (1993)

The Martian – Sex In Zero Gravity (1993)

The Martian – Red Atmospheres (1993)

The Martian – Skypainter (1994)

The Martian – Starchild (1995)

The Martian – Firekeeper (1997)

The Martian ‎– Particle Shower (1997)

Martian 044 ‎– Prayer Stick (1998)

The Martian – Pow Wow (Fancy Dancer Mix – 2002)

The Martians ‎– Tobacco Ties (2003)

Martian 044 – The Last Stand (2004)

The Martian – Techno Symphonic In G (Unbreakable Spirit Of A City – 2010)