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Benjamin Damage

Malfunction

R&S welcome back highly-revered techno artist Benjamin Damage with his new double headed single ‘Malfunction / Binary'.

‘Montreal’ from his debut R&S EP proved to be one of the label's biggest techno releases of the last few years - the pummelling drums, intense atmosphere and beatuiful melodies are synonymous with the music that has made the label timeless.

Road tested in Benjamin’s heavy artillery live shows across the globe, Malfunction / Binary pick up where the last EP left off - pistoning rhythms, breakneck beats and monolithic bass, but this time the mood is more reflective and optimistic - skying cloud-like pads offer a dreamy counterpoint.

Made between London and Berlin, following recent live shows at Berghain and Oval Space, Benjamin’s wanderlust and restless studio dynamic sees him continually breaking down his gear to travel,
“Being on tour with all my gear I find it quite easy to work in new places,” he explains. “I like the energy of different cities and it's good to keep moving.”

This new EP is announced ahead of a huge, all hardware live show at Sonar by Night in Barcelona. With ‘Malfunction/Binary’ sure to do the business and an album in progress for R&S scheduled for 2019 it’s going to be an exciting year ahead!

Lakker

Época

    Lakker return to R&S with their stunning new album; Época. Following 2016’s conceptual 8 track maxi-EP “Struggle and Emerge” (using field recordings of TV and radio broadcasts from the Dutch National AV archive) Época is a bracing return to form, combining caustic electronics with fresh inspiration from the prepared piano of John Cage, plaintive folk melodies, the explorative label Sublime Frequencies and the raw rhythms of Kampala's Nyege Nyege Tapes.

    Following a restorative creative break to pursue their own solo projects (as Arad and Eomac respectively) the duo finally returned to the studio, finding themselves working more closely than ever before. "We wrote this record together, in the studio as a duo." Ian explains "Previous records involved a lot of time working on tracks individually, but Época was written almost entirely together in the studio - it felt much more fun, more organic and democratic." We allowed it to happen rather than push or pressure it" Dara adds.

    The natural evolution of the tracks and their rougher, looser production sound parallels the duo's interest in two separate ideas: ambient and natural sound, especially the background noise - a sense of time and place - that is inherent in old recordings of folk and classical music; and an interest in herd dynamics and flock patterns / murmurations, both in the natural world and in human society. The movements which affect the world at large through cultural and political shifts. "Like the first starling that causes a wave in a murmuration," Ian explains "We are really interested in how this is also reflected in human society - a new idea appears and then reaches critical mass and resonates through society as a whole, and change happens (positive or negative)."

    The rich and deep work of Época finds the duo reinvigorated from their hiatus, using their own voices extensively for the first time, alongsides regular vocal collaborator Eileen Carpio. As Dara explains "We had been experimenting with our own voices in our solo music, so it felt like this was the moment to step out from behind the curtain and put our own vocals front and centre in a more natural way". This leads to an at times more melodic and poppier feeling, balanced out by the off kilter rhythms and blasts of feedback and weathered reverbs that intertwine throughout the record.

    Once again the duo look to the outside world for sonic inspiration. Alongside the use of physical modelling synths the album contains recordings and samples of violin, guitar and bodhrán, the stringboard of a piano at EMS Stockholm, phone recordings of family gatherings in Dublin and 1970’s dance music from Jaipur.

    ‘Época’ is a rich, challenging album of diverse and intense soundscapes that expands on the scope of Lakker's already multifaceted music that finds them at the peak of their artistic powers.

    ‘We are living through volatile times, and as musicians it is impossible to avoid that being reflected in our work. Época is a our personal response to the atmosphere of these times and the external political and cultural events that are shaping our world. Some positive and hopeful, some despondent and angry, and some reflective and introspective.’


    The hyper-chromatic music of Matt Cutler marks him out as a true impressionist; as Lone, he drizzles brightly coloured melody through his tracks with all the reflexive skill of a master painter daubing inks and pigment across paper. On Cutler's fifth Lone album, Reality Testing, released on R&S, he sends notes and chords rippling delicately into space before allowing them to disperse, each oozing beautifully away into the background fabric of the music. Combined with rhythms that ebb and flow, shifting from propulsive club constructions to beatific coastal hip-hop, it's a sensuous, immersive, heady experience, and easily his most accomplished and self-contained work to date.

    "I was listening to a lot of Detroit techno and old Chicago house that had the same grain and dirtiness to it as a lot of the hip hop I was listening to," says Cutler of the genesis for Reality Testing. "That was the real spark - I wanted to make an album that had both hip hop and house beats, but that weren't completely different from each other, that shared the same sort of vibe. I love the idea of two things sat side by side, but instead of it seeming like they're complete opposites, [it's more that] those two things could almost be the same thing."


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xColoured LP Info: Indies exclusive clear vinyl.

    Written between 2011 and 2015 and released as a string of 12"s on Other People, R&S and Clown and Sunset, the “Nymphs" series is now compiled onto one vinyl release for the first time!

    The set opens in typically cryptic fasion via the melodic and moody "Don't Break My Love", an abstract Aphex influenced voyage into measured electronica and the skittish, glitching synth soul of "Why Didn't You Save Me". Next up, "The Three Sides Of Audrey" drifts through static soaked ambience and delicate vocal loops, teasing us for eternity before a suitably sensual rhythm takes control. B2's "No One Is Looking At You " sees Nico playing with the same sound palette and production style, though set to a deep and immersive 4/4 - textured and sophisticated, this is emotional house at its finest. The kick drum sticks around on the similarly deep and dreamy "Swim", a thirteen minute voyage into the beating heart of the dancefloor. Irresistible and unpredictable melodies hook into your Limbic brain, forcing their way through the film of granular noise and taking you higher and higher! The avant garde piano undulations of "Mistress" offer a moment's repose on the "D1" before previous R&S single "Fight" finds an off kilter synth pop rhythm then gradually disintegrates over seven minutes. As we near the finish line, there's still time to enjoy the minimal wiggles and fx abuse of "Revolver", previously a hidden track on the "Nymphs III" 12" and the evocative downbeat of "Took Me Out", a quintessential Jaar composition.


    Four track EP rich in techno and atmosphere.  'Non-Physical Friend' starts proceedings with a looped midnight sax scene sample and thrown into a melange of dark yet groovy bassline and beats. It is driving, it is energetic and be prepared for the acid bombastic thrown into it half way through. 
    Things go more space race oriented on 'Special Access Programs'. Futuristic landscapes - possibly outside Earth are the main theme here. Unexplored lands full of mystery and beauty is translanted into fragile, perfect and melodic soundscapes. Track of this EP for euroSil. 
     
    Flip this 12" and you get a different type of game. It is more robotic, harsher, industrial techno what you will get here. Melodies are gone. Instead heavy beats and aggro bassline take the throne. That goes for 'Sonnenrad'. 'Axid Mundi' does not go that far from the above, it keeps that level of coldness along the whole track but throws in those melodies we were loving so on the A side. 
     
    All tracks are very good - playable and pushing the boundaries yet creating nothing new under the sun. It is a good R&S release and you gotta listen to it in its full glory to appreciate its beauty. 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Sil says: Pretty solid release on R&S as it is the norm with this legendary label. Melodic techno goes robotic at times yet creating intriguing soundscapes for the space explorers out there. Future brought to your decks.

    As the title suggests, Rejuvenate marks a rebirth for South London musician Paul White. Abandoning sampling altogether, White wrote, played and produced all of Rejuvenate's music himself, and the result is an album of playful, psychedelic pop.

    It would have been far easier for White - previously described as a 21st century DJ Shadow, often compared to Madlib and best known as Danny Brown’s go-to producer - to construct an album of loop-based, hip-hop-orientated beats. Instead, taking an ambitious left turn, he worked on honing his songwriting and instrument playing abilities and embarked on creating a totally original record worthy of sitting alongside those he’d usually sample.

    Rejuvenate’s broad sonic palette includes cosmic rock, ambient, electronic, jazz, folk and more. Retaining a groove-heavy, psychedelic aesthetic throughout, White successfully melds these various influences in to his most cohesive, fully-realised offering yet.

    Paul White is joined on this sonic trip by a trio of likeminded souls; British-Jamaican singer Denai Moore adds heartwarming, crystalline vocals to the aptly named Set The Tone and See Through, Zimbabwean musician and poet Shungudzo (aka Shun) shares nuggets of wisdom on Spare Gold and dreamy, melting vocals for Ice Cream Man. White reunites with his sister, Sarah Williams White, and the pair draw on childhood memories for Laugh With Me and All Around.

    Paul White’s previous output includes a treasure trove of mostly instrumental solo records, plus collaborations with Charli XCX, Jehst, Homeboy Sandman, Guilty Simpson, Jamie Woon, Obongjayar, Eric Biddines (as Golden Rules) and Open Mike Eagle. More recently, White reconnected with frequent collaborator Danny Brown, producing most of the Detroit rap maverick’s mind-blowing Atrocity Exhibition album.

    Aphex Twin

    Classics

      As the title sugests, this album is a collection of those early 90s Aphex Twin classics from his R&S days. Released at the height of rave, the set includes such gems as the massive single "Digeridoo", "Flaphead", "Phloem" and "Analogue Bubblebath 1". If you're expecting the lushness of "Selected Ambient Works", think again. Instead imagine a barn-full of Cornish folk jumping around listening to the hardest hardcore techno and rave they could get their hands on, and that gives you an idea of the sound here!


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