Review: Following his Did This release earlier this year, veteran producer Dino Lenny returns to R&S. Washington Street may not be typical for the label's sound, but at its heart is a lithe techno groove. Led by niggling hi hats, subtle snare rolls and a pulsating bass, it's all about the piano keys that flow and build in a celebratory fashion. Like a contemporary take on 90s Italian house, the title track is sure to have widespread appeal. In anticipation of its audience, the release also features a truncated radio edit - don't be surprised to hear this version on daytime radio.
Review: If deep, dark and moody D&B and dubstep are your bag then don't sleep on this new EP from Cardiff lad Elliot R Garvey, AKA Quartz. His work has previously appeared on Metalheadz and System Music, but here he comes to the mighty R&S with four cuts that will delight those of a red-eyed and headnoddin' persuasion. 'Lilac Cobweb' feat Selena Jones is all about the jittery, twitchy percussion, 'Deity Spear' itself is sparse, haunting and features barely-there Middle Eastern-style vox, the gnarlier 'Cosmic Horror' is aptly named and 'Switchblade Groove' brings hints of a dark, beats-driven psychedelia. Late-night, skunk-fuelled listening of the highest calibre.
Review: "20HZ" was one of the biggest house tracks of the 90s, with its distinctive tribal drums ensuring that it was played by DJs right across the board. To mark the 30th anniversary of its release, R&S has commissioned new remixes. Andert Tysma adds a whole new dimension to "20HZ", morphing it into a dreamy ambient track. There is so such divergence on Marco Lys' remix, which ups the tempo but keeps the focus on the same rolling, tribal drums. Vromm opts for a different approach, with robust breaks and a searing bass added to the arrangement. Carl Cox's version also stays in a similar field, with the seminal DJ upping the pace and dropping a grainy bassline.
Review: Originally released in 1991, Volume 2 has lost none of its impact. "My Sound" is a wild, rave-techno track where Beltram melds hardcore riffs with devilish vocal samples. Both "The Melody" and "Reflex" are more sombre in tone. Moody sub-bass unravels over rolling break beats on the former, while the latter resounds to acid tones and gently building snare rolls. On "The Sub-Bass Experience", Beltram brings the intensity levels back up. Driven by chattering claps and a malevolent low end, it also features moody textures and eerie synth lines. Like Energy Flash, which Beltram released around the same time, Volume 2 remains a timeless EP.
Review: One of 2023's positive developments is the re-appearance of Dave Angel. Following a long period when he didn't release much material, the iconic UK producer has returned in style. The most recent outing was an excellent new release for Rekids and next up is Stairway To Heaven. It's the latest digital reissue of Angel's classic 90s material on R&S and starts with the unforgettable squelchy bass and dramatic builds of "Bounce Back". The high-paced tribal drums of "Sighting" provides a glimpse of the frenetic techno that became Angel's staple. "Trip To Darkness" embraces the hardcore sound that prevailed at the time, while the rolling groove of "Jungle Love" also reverberates to early 90s bass-heavy menace.
Review: Dave Angel had a huge impact on techno throughout the 1990s, and this reissue of his 1991 1st Voyage EP shows why he was so influential. Angel's main legacy will be his contribution to integrating deeper sounds with high-paced techno rhythms, and the origins of that approach are audible on the sweeping strings of "Mesmerize", which CJ Bolland co-produced. However, 1st Voyage also impresses due to the UK producer's ability to deliver knockout club tracks. "Poison" unfolds to menacing thunder claps and Beltram-esque dissonance, while "Planet Function" is a jittery, rave-infused roller. On "Velocity", the UK producer conjures up a visceral vision of what ultimately became his signature sound, as eerie chords are fused with a tight rhythm. It's testament to Angel's vision that 30 years later, 1st Voyage remains a fascinating journey.
Review: Manchester based producer Joe McBride has incorporated disparate influences across the spectrum of bass culture and electronica over recent years for respected imprints such as Apollo, Exit Records and his own Synkro Music. His latest outing, the Information EP, comes courtesy of the mighty R&S Records and features four tracks with a distinctly UK underground feel; the half-time grey area beats of the title track call to mind the Autonomic sound the late noughties, leading into the ominous atmosphere of the seething slow burner "Signal" and ending with the celestial, immersive ambient journey "Last Breath".
Review: Chizawa originally released Asia back in 2006 on R&S, and now the emergence of a new version of that track provides the impetus for the label to reissue this classic underground EP. Inspired by the melodic soul and high-tech funk of Detroit techno, "Asia 4" remains a stellar underground track. "Panther" is a similarly inclined piece, with Chizawa raising the tempo to deliver an atmospheric, string-led workout. The new version of "Asia" the 'Lost Q' remix, adds to the producer's Motor City-fuelled creds, with a bubbling groove underpinning the kind of synth-led soul one would normally associate with classic Transmat and Metroplex.
Review: Under the Blocks & Escher alias, Phillip Smith and Will Hansen have been one of the most reliable drum & bass duos of the last few years, with their 2018 debut album on Metalheadz, Something Blue, being a must listen. The pair's first outing on R&S is naturally still rooted in drum & bass but could have appeal way beyond genre purists thanks to its frequent nods to classic jungle and the more immersive and saucer-eyed end of the breakbeat spectrum. Our picks of a very strong bunch are 'Dance Girl', a sweaty, enveloping chunk of post-jungle featuring what sound like cut-up live drum-breaks, the punchy, Exit-esque experimental D&B creepiness of 'Abyss' and the hot-stepping, horror soundtrack moodiness of 'Shot in the Dark'.
Review: Mahjong Music boss makes his way to R&S under the PROGedia name, with this "We Are The Night" single of funky western rhodes preceding a forthcoming LP! With pitched vocals that sound as if they've been sipping some deep purple drank, this single expands on Conti's penchant for heartfelt arrangements, playing with beats and textures, with touches of acoustic folk elements alongside smooth, bluesy melody lines. Diving deep into UK electronic music folklore - Peacefrog legend Charles Webster is employed for two remixes with the original mix delivering a pre-eminent Disclosure / Mount Kimbie vibe next to an ambient mix that sounds all the more Bleep and Orbital inspired. Looking forward to the album, and a most intriguing release to say the least!
Review: Introducing Sam Chadburn aka Sam Interface, the artist formerly known as SNOW whose music, interestingly enough, shared a split release with Zed Bias to inaugurate his More Time Records in 2017, while in 2019 he appeared on a swift R&S various artist compilation. Fully emancipated under a new alias, Sam Interface's full solo debut arrives with the Pink Dolphins EP turning four heavily UK influenced club bangers. With next level bass going 3D in tracks like "Crud", there's skippier, and more percussion enlightened cuts in "Underground". An EP that's undeniably made for the club, find something heavy, full of phase, ghostly house vocals and a splash of melody in "Finally", while "Pink Dolphins" sends in a sidewinding bassline hit of low end frequencies, funky percussion and new drum and bass mechanics that even Special Request would be proud of. '90s 2.0.
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: 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: Rightly so, Paul Woolford sees his Special Request project stamped and approved by R&S with this fully sick Spectral Frequency EP. Lifting the title-track from the Zero Fucks compilation Woolford released last year, this insane banger of experimental jungle comes backed by a sidewinding beatless version in "Inverse Frequency". The EP sees two new numbers in the bassline driven bliss of "No Other Way To Say It" and the uplifting arpeggios of "Family Doggo" that offers some respite in techno from the bonafide mad breaks of "Spectral Frequency". Undeniably good. Tip!
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: If you like things harsh and jungley, packed full of amen sounds and couched in the audio aesthetic of grimy warehouses and early morning smoking area haze, this is the release for you. Courtesy of Special Request via the label R&S, Spectral Frequency takes you on a journey up and down the spectrum of dancefloor frequencies. The destination? Jungle city, and it's a rough town that finds beauty in its disorder. This track climbs and climbs, distorted breaks forming the bedrock of its acceleration, before crashing onto the waves of amens which form its main body. It's perfect for the dancefloor and a seriously atmospheric method of transport.
Review: Hailing from different countries across Europe but united by label owner Renaat Vandepapeliere's love of percussive tracks, the contributors toVolume 5 deliver a fine dance floor compilation. It starts in introspective mode with the stepping rhythms of Tension's "Pure Black Skies" and Hala Bahma's "My: Emi", before moving into deep tripped out techno courtesy of Primal Code's brooding "Tridimensionale". On "Oracle", Optmst introduces a more accessible approach thanks to the use of dreamy vocal samples, while the human voice also makes an appearance on Hermetics "Escaping Samsara", with dreamy chants unravelling over an undulating tribal rhythm. It makes for a vivid climax to another volume of RV Trax.