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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!

The Maghreban

Monster VIP - Inc. Batu Remix

R&S The Maghreban returns to R&S for a new single following his dark debut album 01DEAS, perhaps with an icier sound.
Monster VIP is a reworking of a double time rap track from The Maghreban's Strange U side project; he added breaks and rolled it out. End level bosses lurk. Beware of the monster. Rave navel-gazing back to his roots: his first ever release was a jungle 12” in 1994. Early support from Ben UFO.
On the flip, Batu (Timedance/XL) offers up crisp percussion and ominous sound design in his energetic 140 remix of album opener “Eddies”.
Then the EP is closes out with “Carpet Bombing”, the title of which references the producer adding more and more notes to the main percussive motif as it builds and builds.

STAFF COMMENTS

Sil says: One for the open minds out there. Including me! It is icy cold, industrial, broken, with acidic threats here and there and all of it with killer bass for the bad boy and girls out there! R&S does not let down its clientele.

Felix aka Djrum is classically trained in the jazz tradition and influenced by the likes of Keith Jarrett and Alice Coltrane. Previously shy at the prospect of fans hearing his piano playing, his determination has paid off: delivering this new album that ditches the straight up dancefloor moods of before for a much more wide-screened, encompassing listen that traverses electronic, jazz and avant music styles with a poised finesse.

Taking inspiration and solace from performance artist Marina Abramovic, Felix collaborated with cellist Zosia Jagodzinska and vocalist Lola Empire. Jagodzinska recorded several takes of improvisations over the track "Creature" which Felix would chop, pitch and layer into new melodic lines and seed throughout the album. Felix's new approach expanded to experimentation with field recordings, contact micing his beloved piano and purchasing his first hardware synth, all in service of enriching the personal, humane quality of the record.

Anyone expected ten garage bangers will be sorely let down; however existing fans of his work will notice the meticulous attention to rhythm, frequency balance and sonic inventiveness; nodding quite effortlessly to the multifaceted universe of UK dance music - particularly sound system friendly vibrations.

More artistic and cinematic than anything he's previously release it sees the esteemed garage and dnb producer move into the more esoteric and freeform realms - and is a welcome move for this wonderful artist.


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.

Stupendously strong album (debut?) from The Maghreban here. His dusky grooves, heavy bass pressure and clanking drum breaks sound like they were dredged from the bottom of the river Nile, imbued with a maverick, before being laced with a dramatic tension more akin to a sci-fi apocalypse movie.

Ayman Rostom has previously released on his own label, Zoot, as well as Versatile and Black Acre - carving out a distinctive and engaging sound which has seen him garner some seriously devoted fans. Also known as acclaimed hip-hop producer Dr Zygote (also one half of Eglo’s Strange U), Rostom is already a favourite of Benji B, Ben UFO, Nicolas Jaar, Trevor Jackson and many others.

After the extended clamor for a Maghreban long player R&S happily enlisted this dynamic star onto their roster: 'The 12” format is great for the club, but I wanted to go a bit deeper with it, and explore different moods and ideas,' Rostom explains. Packed with richly satisfying cuts, the album draws on the producer's usual musical themes; 90s home counties rave, '93 dark jungle, 80s steppers reggae, broken beat, dark modal jazz, colonial afro rock and psychedelia - uniting such a collection of influences under a concise and coherent aesthetic. 'I make heavy, dark music.. I think growing up with some Arabic music allowed me to appreciate minor key stuff. And the Arabic music is big and dramatic. It’s one reason I liked death metal and hip-hop in my early teens alongside old hardcore/rave and jungle. It’s all heavy, head banging music. I’m usually trying to make the heaviest sounding thing that I can.' Joined by a stellar cast of guests including Brighton based songstress Victoria Port of Anushka, Zimbabwean vocalist Rutendo Machiridza, rapper A-F-R-O, and best friend Gatto Fritto, "01Deas" skirts around mystic themes and modern production, yet due to certain production processes (sampling from cassette, old mixing desks etc), there's a familiar sense of dance music history permeating through the tracks; like your discovering a long forgotten species that's actually existed, undisturbed, in the depths of some unknown rainforest for eternity; its fruits and riches only just coming into focus to us as we slowly enter the environment. Excellent stuff here - most recommended.


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: A smörgåsbord of world rhythms and bass, The Maghreban opens the lid off a cauldron of influences and atmospheres.

Maarten Van Der Vleuten Presents Integrity

Outrage

R&S welcome Dutch dance icon Maarten van der Vleuten back into the fold.

- ‘Outrage’ is a compilation of Maarten van der Vleuten’s Integrity project tracks, originally released on R&S sub-label Outrage Recordings in 1992, now remastered by Matt Colton

Maarten van der Vleuten is one of the most influential figures in the Dutch scene, and also a man of many aliases - between 1987 to 2007 he racked up releases with over two dozen projects producing Detroit techno, electro, house, experimental and ambient tracks and remixes.

Still highly active and inspired in 2018, R&S see the Outrage release as a perfect opportunity to re-introduce Van der Vleuten’s masterful productions to a new generation, adding to his existing influential fans such as Optimo, Global Communication, Ellen Allien and Dave Clarke.

During the 90s he recorded mainly dance/techno for R&S Records, as Orpheus, 48V Phantom Power and Mantrax. He also memorably released on Apollo Records (check his excellent In-Existence ‘Moonwater’ album), Djax-Up-Beats, See Saw and Klang Elektronik amongst others.

Van Der Vleuten’s ongoing collaboration with R&S founder Renaat Vanderpapeliere saw the later set up Outrage Recordings in early 1992 to release Van der Vleuten’s tracks that didn't fit on R&S Records, recording as Integrity, Zimt, Flux and Pultec.

“Every couple of weeks i would drive up to Ghent with my new tracks and meet Renaat,” explains Martin. "We then went straight to Foon Mastering where we played the DATs and decided which tracks would be cut - i had carte blanche when it came to the 'sound' of the label.

Van der Vleuten’s music on Outrage Recordings moved in the opposite direction of the contemporary rave and gabber scenes; while Techno became faster and shifted to a more aggressive sound, Van der Vleuten focused more on composing and arranging over danceability. This resulted in these EP’s being difficult to sell back in 92 but listening now it feels vital and fresh well over two decades since they were recorded which is an obvious sign of
Van Der Vleuten’s deft talent.

The release also includes Van der Vleuten’s collaborations with another dutch icon, Mike Kivits (aka DJ Aardvarck). The pair first met In 1989 when Kivits would sometimes play his demos on cassette-tapes at local clubs. The pair became fast friends and Van Der Vieuten invited Kivits into the studio where they found a natural chemistry that ultimately resulted in the tracks ‘Nightshift’ and ‘Intens’ which feature on ‘Outrage’, both written and recorded on the same day.

Lost Souls Of Saturn Vs. Mashrou' Leila

Bint El Khandaq

Clocking in at 11 minutes, this is a radical deconstruction of the track 'Bint El Khandaq’ that appears on the Mashrou’ Leila album ‘Ibn El Leil’. Lost Souls Of Saturn tease out the underlying emotion and yearning present in the original and take the listener on a beguiling, symphonic ambient journey that calls to mind Wolfgang Voigt’s much loved Gas project, or the shimmering imaginary landscapes of Brian Eno. Renowned for their rousing, sensual electro-pop Mashrou’ Leila’s songs touch on political freedom, LGBT rights, race, religion and modern Arabic identity. Lost Souls Of Saturn were approached by the band to reinterpret the original track and the stunning results fit perfectly as their debut release on R&S.


STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: After Jonny Rock went in hard on the Mashrou' Leila on Hamam House a couple of weeks back, Lost Souls of Saturn take a radically different approach for this R&S release. Swathes of droning strings and echoing fx bathe us in widescreen grandeur, setting the scene perfectly for the spiritual emoting of the vocal. Under the radar Balearic bomb right here!

Slackk first came to the attention of most with an EP of roughneck UK house on Numbers, before a series of more emotive, melody-driven records on Local Action and Unknown to the Unknown saw him emerge as one of the most unique and influential artists working in the peripheries of grime - taking the genre’s hallmarks and audio tattoos but placing them in a context that owed as much to Eastern mood pieces and the complex melodies of classic jazz records, hinting at other key influences on Slackk’s music. His debut album Palm Tree Fire was a particular success: Resident Advisor calling it a “beautiful glimpse into the mind of an under-appreciated producer”.
Slackk has since expanded the breath and honed the details of his music through a pair of EPs on R&S - first Backwards Light, a record that expanded on the themes of his previous releases while taking in the label’s legacy of groundbreaking acid and techno, and then on the more abrasive Aviary. A Little Light, his first album for the label, is his most idiosyncratic and personal release yet.
Partially inspired by the upcoming birth of his first child, this album sees Slackk drop the tempo to an r&b 90bpm crawl on tracks like ‘Spring Mist’ and ‘Zip Me Up’, with the newfound space between his drums allowing his delicate melodies to grow and spiral like never before.
Although the LP looks forward, it’s also nostalgic: ‘Old Petchy Shows’ is a reference to the last embers of UK Funky, arguably the final chapter of UK dance music to rely on traditional physical hubs like pirate radio and record stores, while ‘Paper Santos’ and ‘Reasons’ nod to early 2000s grime and house, both influences on Slackk in different ways. Elsewhere, ’So Far, The Sea’ and ‘And The Sun’ are two of the most outright emotional songs that Slackk has written to date.
Although there are clear reference points dotted throughout A Little Light, more than anything - following several years of honing and developing a trademark sound - it simply sounds like Slackk; equal parts nostalgic and optimistic, delicate and clumsy, with an atmosphere that could either be sunset or sunrise depending on your vantage point. It’s an album filled with uncertainty and individuality, utterly unconcerned with what’s happening outside of its own world, and there’s only one artist around who could have written it.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Woozy beats, languid synth swells and crisp compressed percussion loops. 'A Little Light' finely treads the line between dancefloor and home listening, being eminently mellow, but driven enough to let you work up a bit of a tripped-out sway. There are experimental futuristic stompers, and dusty shadowy percussives, while never losing that Slackk sound. Brilliantly skillful and nuanced electronica.

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 house constructions to beatific coastal hip-hop, it's a sensuous, immersive, heady experience, and easily his most accomplished and self-contained work to date.

'First Born Seconds' sets a cinematic tone, possibly pitching for a Blade Runner remake, while 'Restless City' turns the radio dial to Pal Joey style jazz-break hip-house, looping up funky breaks and adding scratchy sampladelic textures. 'Meeker Warmer Energy' goes for the full Detroit beatdown effect - get ready to head-nod. Cutler's Mcr homage 'Aurora Northern Quarter' combines the jazz-hop bump with Italo pianos and Boards Of Canada style refracted keyboard lines. Sublime. '2 Is 8' reminds me of an early doors Electric Chair warm up tune - fat hip hop beats, smile on face, sweat on brow. Shifting gears we then hit 'Airglow Fires', the best house tune of 2013 IMHO. 'Coincidences' offers more beatdown vibes, while 'Begin To Begin' brings back the synth pan pipe, last seen in Larry Heard's hands circa 1995. 'Jaded' offers a sofa-loafing interlude before 'Vengeance Video' fires up the harp-like crystal arpeggios. 'Cutched Under' closes the album as it began, with filmic dreaminess. Not to be missed!


The sound of Aphex Twin's crazy rave-breaks and insane gabba techno on the "Xylem Tube" and "Digeridoo" EPs fitted right in with the early 90s output of R&S, becoming instant classics of the era. On this twelve "Polynomial - C" combines some beautiful keyboard and string lines with clod-hopping beats, "Tamphex (Headphuq Mix)" is like being mashed underneath a super-charged steam-hammer, while "Phlangephace" and "Dodeccaheedron" show the way forward towards James' early Warp releases.

FORMAT INFORMATION

12" Info: Reissue in generic R&S sleeve artwork.

Joey Beltram

Vol.1

    Official R&S reissue of the 1990 12" that launched a million copycat producers. But none could replicate the incredible bass signal that New York's Joey Beltram created on "Energy Flash". One of the first techno classics to come from outside of the Detroit-Chicago axis, such was the demand for "Energy Flash" that it was quickly licensed to Derrick May's Transmat imprint.

    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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