Review: Romanian minimal maestro Ada Kaleh returns to esteemed imprint R&S for another presentation of intricate electronics, following up a spate of releases on his eponymous imprint. Based on an experience in the mountains with some companions, he had an epiphany - a cosmic call (which the title translates to) of sorts - and became the inspiration for the A side "Chemare Cosmica". Brooding and mysterious, much like his Palatul de Cleștar EP for the label last year, he now serves up the majestic dub techno exploration of the title track, swirling in intricate chords and laden with generous delay and reverberations. This is supported by the hypnotic "Valea Ancestrala" which is more reminiscent of his usual esoteric style.
Review: Following his R&S debut last year, Berlin-based American Afriqua (aka Adam Longman Parker) presents Vice/Principle, which veers into psychedelic territory and is inspired by the cosmic departures of '70s krautrock and jazz. After several years developing a hefty catalog of releases, Parker has embraced his R&S signing as an opportunity to dive deeper into his signature, yet versatile sound. From the hypnotic and ethereal bounce of "Melamed", the broken beat hi-tech soul of "Noumenon" or the immaculate production of "Cerch" which showcases Parker's classically trained foundations, he serves up a cohesive effort here which further demonstrates his abilities as one of electronic music's most innovative sonic heroes.
Review: Following Eps for R&S, Adam Longman Parker drops Colored, his debut Afriqua album, on the label. Inspired by artists like Quincy Jones and Roy Ayers but also rooted in modern electronic production, it features soulful vocal jams like "Dope" sitting alongside subtle house/techno steppers such as "Shout" and "Upstream". Meanwhile, the album also sees him indulge his experimental flights of fancy, audible on the warped chimes of "Birdlandia" and "Noir". Possessed by a rare ability to turn these seemingly conflicting narratives into a seamless whole, Parker's unique approach means that Colored is a bewildering but often quite brilliant work.
Review: The RV Trax series make for the most personalised releases on R&S, with founder Renaat Vandepapeliere selecting tracks that he plays out. As "Archivolt" the contribution from B?rtaub demonstrates, he is clearly a fan of teased out, trippy minimal house in the style of Ricardo Villalobos. In stark contrast is Dawn Razor's "Acid Funk", a dense break beat number, with splurging acid lines insinuating itself into the funky beats. On Milesh's "Jedi Mind Design" Renaat covers territory similar to Dawn Razor, albeit with moody soundscapes and dramatic stabs unfolding over the funky rhythm. Finally, there's Izan Hesse's "Tinder Express", a searing, noisy stepper that could be a distant cousin of Neil Landstrumm's work around the time of Restaurant of Assassins.
Review: Benjamin Damage became part of the R&S family last year, and this single offers a taster for his debut album, due for release soon on the storied label. The title track is an evocative affair, touching on early 90s intelligent techno's emotive, fragile melodies while keeping a focus on the dance floor thanks to the use of a stepping groove. On "Binary", Damage also conjures up a melodic aesthetic, only this time he expresses it through the use of surging chords and a skipping rhythm. Both tracks are understated but distinctive and bode well for the UK producer's imminent long player.
Review: More Time and R&S linking up is always going to lead to something fantastic, and this latest four track selection is just that, as we firstly kick off the project with some incredibly vibrant drum work and percussive brilliance from Ahadadream on 'Melty'. Next, Bala Bala Boyz rise to the occasion with more high energy drum chops and vocal lines on 'Sieta' before Bryte brings the grooves with the irresistible switch ups of 'Ice Cream'. Finally, 'Bleep Test' lands from SNOW, putting a final touch of rhythmic bliss onto what we can safely say is an excellent body of work.
Review: Over the years, Felix Manuel's DJRUM project has been an important reference within the so-called 'post-dubstep' scene, which has conveniently been reimagined as 'bass' music. The artist was and still is a big part of the 2nd Drop catalogue, having released an LP and countless singles on the imprint, so it's no surprise that Belgium's mighty R&S have called upon his services. He comes through with his second album, Portrait With Firewood, and it's a much more contemplative piece of work that spreads much further than mere dance tooling, often dissipating into contemplative ambient rhythms with a post-modernist spin. Tunes like "Waters Rising" provide mystique and wonder, while others like "Sex" call to the dancefloor or even some solid meditation, much like the placid waters of "Sparrows". More than anything else, this is a true album from start to finish, constantly wondering into abstractions and then back again for some serious beat throw-downs. Excellent.
Review: R&S have a real history of bringing forward the weird and wonderful into the public eye, and it appears that this most recent link up with DJRUM is another perfect example of that brilliance as we sit tight for two stunning original creations. The high tempo drum shuffles and windy altitudes of the A-side 'Hard To Say' are something to behold, with pulsating chord clinks riding through the centre of the mix and crunchy transitions at every turn. On the flip side we take things down a bit more tropical road as we are greeted with rapid fire percussion and steel-drum like arpeggiator synths in 'Tournesol', providing a fantastic contrast across both the A & B sides.
Review: Tale Of Us did it, Blawan did it, Special Request too, and many others at the top of their game find their hype bonafide with a silver & green plated R&S debut. Joining that list alongside other contemporaries like Djrum, Ada Kaleh and Benjamin Damage is rhythm, UK bass and percussive techno specialist Forest Drive West. Channeling a harder, slightly darker tribalistic and UK style for the rave-minded R&S, each track here sees deeper Italian techno in breakbeat form meet with shady Bristol rave and dubstep atmospheres. Throw in the splash of jungle in "Curved Path" and you've got a EP that covers what any R&S / FDW fan needs. Rave 2.0
Review: It's been a brief minute since we last took in a spicy new R&S release, but as always they have hit the spot perfectly as they unveil a fantastic new single from Future Beat Alliance. The track takes the title 'Never Forever' as plays the role of an industrial stomper, driven by pulsating, organic kick smashes and vibrant percussive lines chugging away in the background, combined with subtle yet eerie atmospheric synth pads. To add to the fun, we also hear a very interesting Afriqua rework of the track, focussing on much more colourful synthesizer lines and wavy tones. Lovely!
Review: Since ditching a plethora of recording aliases back in 2014, Malaysia-based Frenchman Karim Sahraoui has released music on some of techno's most renowned imprints, including Transmat, Compost Black Label and OFF Recordings. Plentitude sees him add another iconic label to his CV via a first outing on R&S Records.Our highlight is probably the ear-catching, house-tempo Detroit futurism of "Born Again", where positive-sounding pianos and saucer-eyed electronics rise above a shuffling rhythm track. That said, many people will enjoy the hypnotic, dub techno inspired tech-house hypnotism of opener "Spy of the Desert", while closer "Before The Second Coming" is as rich, fragrant and melodious as they come.
Review: We find ourselves returning to legendary R&S records for this one as they invite the spectacular combination of both Kettama and Lone inside for a three track thrill ride. We begin with the latin-infused drum work and glitchy synth shivers of 'The Way You Feel', which sets the tone for the project through its overall euphoric nature. Next up, 'Anniversary' arrives from Kettama on solo duty, deploying a vibrant display of percussive pushes and spacey pads, before Lone's 'Dragonrush' original combines lethal electric synth pulses with acidic filtration and high energy drum maneuvers to deliver a certified smash.
Review: Here's something to celebrate: a surprise collaboration between R&S regular Lone - a producer now best known for the colourful feel or his shimmering, retro-futurist workouts - and sometime Shall Not Fade and Unknown To The Unknown contributor Kettama (real name Evan Campbell). "The Way That You Feel" genuinely fuses the best of both producer's styles, with kaleidoscopic, neon-lit synth stabs and bubbly, eyes-closed electronic lead lines riding a busy bassline and 130 BPM techno drums that seem to fizz as much as they bang. The results are not only undeniably heavy, but also insatiably ear-pleasing.
Review: Apoca is Lakker's fourth artist album and follows 2016's highly conceptual Struggle & Emerge work. In what marks a change for the duo's approach, it features them singing, with opening track "Shoulder to the Bat" and the droning, stepping "Dropped Shoulders" mixing up evocative human tones with dubbed out techno. On other occasions, like "100 Bar", "A Juggling of Numbers" and "Nest", their love of abstract comes to the fore, with knotted, glitchy rhythms providing the basis for atmospheric textures. The pair also delves deep into experimentation with the neo-classical stylings of "Clavier", while "A Whisper In Your Ear" is an irresistible piece of lumbering, ghostly techno. No matter what direction Lakker turn in, they never fail to impress.
Review: UK producer Matt Cutler aka Lone delivers the final instalment in his Ambivert Tools series of EPs. Like previous editions, The London based producer borrows respectfully from classic house aesthetics while decorating them with a vibrant and contemporary edge - much like the tracks released on his acclaimed Magicwire imprint. The evocative and breakbeat driven "Pulsar" conjures up memories of the late '90s, sounding like an excerpt from Sasha & Digweed's seminal Northern Exposure series. "Oedo 808" goes down a solid electro bass route and the sensual latin house flair of "Blue Moon Tree" intoxicates you with its shimmering chord progressions and hypnotic bongo rhythms.
World Of The Wars (Wolfgang Tillmans remix) - (7:51) 127 BPM
Review: Lost Souls Of Saturn - the unlikely pairing of Seth Troxler and Phil Moffa - are preparing their debut album for release in June for R&S. They're searching for signs from another dimension and channelling this into a higher consciousness, stating that inspiration came from a broad range of subjects not limited to art, film, literature and the esoteric - through to science and even sci-fi. This is all merged into an inextricably linked whole, wrapped-up in a philosophy of their own making. All these facets certainly do make their way into the dense minimal journey that is "Holes In The Holoverse", followed by the tripped-out deep techno of "World Of The Wars" which is followed up by a remix of Turner prize winning artist and photographer Wolfgang Tillmans.
Review: Inspired by Sun Ra and Philip K Dick, Lost Souls of Saturn is the vehicle for Seth Troxler and Phil Moffa's more esoteric dance floor musings. These tracks, taken from their debut album from earlier this year - and in some instances here in extended form - show just how far down the rabbit hole the duo go. "Divine Plane (M?ditation Des Enfants)" is a dreamy, wispy affair, with cosmic meandering unravelling over a tight rhythm, while on "Lunarvision", rain forest warbles accompany deeper sound scapes. While the extended take on "Lost Souls of Saturn" is a more grimy affair, led by gurgling acid, tripped out discordance and scuffled beats, the late night sax squalls of "Midnight Karma" shows that this is a proper out-there project.