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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 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.

Mariel Ito (A.K.A. Maceo Plex)

2000-2005

'2000-2005' is a retrospective round up of Mariel Ito AKA Eric Estornel's futuristic yet heartfelt electro. An early alias of the Cuban Miami born Eric Estornel the Mariel Ito trademark driving percussion, deep pads and hypnotic arrangements saw releases on iconic imprints like Modern Love, and Scsi AV at the turn of the century before being put into hibernation from 2006 onwards. Fast forward to 2000, while thinking of a new name for this project Eric settled on Mariel ito as a nod to the Cuban community. "Usually only Miami Cubans understand the pun" he adds. Electro had always been a popular sound in Miami during Eric's formative years there, he gravitated towards its futurism as well as the its emphasis on sound design, synth work and beat programming. His natural facility for emotive melodies and irrestistable grooves are immediately evident in the ten tracks on this release. Composed between 2000 and 2005 the music takes cues from the iconic IDM and electro sounds of the mid / late 90s putting a new twist on broken beats and synthetics, artists such as Aphex Twin, Gescom, Bitstream, Gimmick, Pendle Coven, the pioneering Sheffield bleep sound and of course, a certain infamous Belgian imprint. "R&S helped sculpt my taste growing up in the 90s. So many seminal records came out back then that were really ahead of their time. There's obvious picks like Selected Ambient Works and Energy Flash, but I was even more inspired by the works of David Morley, CJ Bolland, Source and the rest." This release underlines the welcome reactivation of the Mariel Ito project from hibernation, with Estornel's full creative commitment moving forward.



Lone

Ambivert Tools Volume 4

Lone delivers the final installment of his stunning "Ambivert Tools" series.

Started in 2017, "Ambivert Tools" gave Lone the chance to step outside the confines of writing music for an album and get back to the basics of crafting tunes primarily for his intoxicating DJ sets. Inspired in no small part by the rich seam of house that he’s been excavating with his fine Magicwire imprint "Ambivert Tools" parts one to three have been stacked with breezy yet rugged house excursions full of his trademark atmospheres, rose-tinted smiley culture matched with melody & harmony. Each one unequivocally his own.

This final transmission again finds Lone in vintage form - "Pulsar" takes inspiration from classic UK techno and IDM from the likes of Stasis and B12. Sharing its DNA with the rolling breaks of "Temples" from vol. 3 but going deeper, in search of that 6am dancefloor feeling.

"Oedo 808" as the title suggests gets busy with some tight 808 drum programming bringing an electro feel into the mix. The rude bassline and glistening electronics only work to to tighten it up further for the dancefloor and take it higher than a straight-up electro blueprint could achieve.

"Blue Moon Tree" rounds things off in style staying true to the DJ tool theme of the series: a killer bassline, crisp drums, gated vocal sample and galvanized stabs are all this one needs to be a staple in the right DJ’s boxes for a long time to come.


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: It's that "Blue Moon Tree" track dat's got me and third Chemical Bro James Holroyd jumpin' on a Thursday afternoon... big tings here from this illuminated UK mainstay .

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.

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.

R&S collected together another four tracks from in-form New York techno producer Joey Beltram for this second EP on the label. As with "Volume I", this twelve features a variety of his tracks, from the steam-hammer driven Hoover techno-rave of "My Sound" and nasty grinding "The Sub Bass Experience" via deeper house tunes like "The Melody", and the very Aphex Twin sounding "Reflex" (who influenced who here I wonder?).

FORMAT INFORMATION

12" Info: Reissue with authentic replica picture 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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