R&S and cutting-edge electronic music are as synonymous as Messi and football. You can barely speak of one without mentioning the other, such is the label’s impact on the scene over the last 40 years. To mark the momentous milestone anniversary, Renaat Vandepapeliere’s Belgian powerhouse is doing what it does best — serving up ‘In Order To Dance 4.0’, a brand new installment in its legendary series that once again showcases new music from a mix of familiar names alongside next-generation artists. It is a timely reminder of where the label has come from and where it is going next.
The years in between have seen the label launch artists like James Blake, Lone and Blawan, offer a European home to US greats like Derrick May and Joey Beltram (whose classic ‘Energy Flash’ on R&S remains one of techno’s biggest-ever tunes) and even work with the untouchable Aphex Twin, all while offering an endlessly high quality stream of innovative techno. More recently the sounds have evolved to encompass hip-hop and lo-fi soul, but the label’s famous prancing horse logo remains a respected stamp of authority whatever the genre.
The first ‘In Order To Dance’ compilation came back in 1989 and showcased the best in house and new beat, the latter of which being a homegrown Belgian sound that is very much back in fashion today. The artists on that album were all A&Red by Vandepapeliere’s expert ear, and it is that same ear that has carefully curated this latest collection.
Hyphen kicks off this new era with the stirring electronic soul of ‘Winter Sky’. It’s awash with melodic beauty and elegant beats that get you on your toes before Paul Roux’s ‘Baptéme’ leads you inwards. The smeared chords convey brokenhearted melancholy over heavy broken beats. After that artful start, Subject 13 & Conscious Route showcase R&S’s other side on ‘Dripping Sauce’ — an irresistible dancefloor sensibility with sleazy bars over ghetto beats. There is skewed futurism to the frosty hip-hop of Nphonix & Matrika’s ‘Rumble Around’, which embodies the evolution of the R&S sound, while Saytek’s ‘IYNDUB01 (Live)’ douses you in warm dub currents as you gaze off to the stars.
The mid-point is marked by the playful melodies and vocals of ‘Did This’, a truly original cut from Dino Lenny who has been embedded in the scene now for 30 years. Label purists will love the trio of tracks that follow and very much capture the essence of R&S: there are the twisted beats and cosmic synth sorcery of VROMM’s ‘Red Tuna’, punchy techno elegance of Insider’s ‘Something Flash’ and raved-up energy of ‘Hold On’ by Pascal Nuzzo. Things get even more visceral and direct with the frazzled jungle rhythms supplied by Som.1 on ‘Ultimatum’ before the soulful breaks and chords on Dharma’s ‘Structured Chaos’ provide room for thought. Adam Antine’s ‘Sortavala’ is a funky breaks workout and Acidulant closes things out with ‘Make Love to a Machine’, a coruscated acid-electro cut designed to rip up the floor. The first ‘In Order To Dance’ compilation was pivotal in the early evolution of electronic music, and 40 years on this installment is just as important.
There’s a series of cutting-edge music videos to accompany the new wave of ‘In Order To Dance 4.0’ tracks. Acclaimed artists and video directors, including Alessandro Amaducci, Ben Marlowe and Gala Mirissa have all stamped their digital artistic visions onto these stunning compositions, syncing audio and visual for a multi-sensory experience.
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