While R&S's "renaissance"—as it has been repeatedly referred to as—began in 2006 with Dan Foat taking up the helm, it wasn't until 2010 with the signing of James Blake, Untold, Pariah and Space Dimension Controller that its refocused music policy became abundantly clear. It was no longer necessarily about sound or genre—R&S being a former bastion of techno—but a generational thing. Here was a bunch of 20-somethings making whatever they liked: be it retro-future house (SDC), poignant dubstep meets electro pop (James Blake) or techno-garage (Pariah).
Not that it had—or has—entirely shunned its heritage. On this two disc label compilation, IOTDXI, Blawan's contemporary breed of acid-dripped techno sounds in line, in some respects, with the golden R&S days. Lone is the other, and arguably more redolent-sounding artist of the label's zenith, with his penchant for the ravey and overall backwards-looking scope. His "Coreshine Voodoo" could easily be a reissue from the R&S archive, while homage is further paid with Bullion's "Rivertrance Mix" of a Model 500 classic.
Vondelpark, Cloud Boat and The Chain complete the "best of" section of the compilation. Alongside Pariah and Klaus (whose debut Tusk EP for some reason fails to make the cut), they represent the acts R&S have launched over the last 18 months, and the label's—aside from Pariah—lesser known acts. Coincidentally (or not) theirs are the blandest here, albeit melodic and pleasant. "Lostwithiel" could be a watered-down Pariah track, without the 2-step punch. "Lions On The Beach" and "Camels" on the other hand are closer to the James Blake-style of dubstep ballad, but again seem to be lacking something.
Prior to Foat's recent comment I would have been inclined to view CD2 as a collection of exclusive tracks from the crew and a potential glimpse at future R&S. Now the only label-based conclusion I dare make is the anticipation of a new member, Airhead, and the assumption that it will continue to mine the "whatever" bass-scape in a continually care-and-genre-free fashion. Either way, they've certainly caught my attention, and I'm pretty sure I won't be the only one watching them in 2012.
Buy Various Artists - IOTDXI at
Tracklist: Various Artists - IOTDXICD1
01. Pariah - Safehouses
02. Model 500 - OFI (Bullion's Rivertrance mix)
03. The Chain - Lostwithiel
04. Lone - Coreshine Voodoo
05. James Blake - CMYK
06. Pariah - Orpheus
07. Untold - Stereo Freeze
08. James Blake - I Only Know (What I Know Now)
09. Cloud Boat - Lions on the Beach
10. Blawan - Bohla
11. Space Dimension Controller - Transatlantic Landing Bay
12. Vondelpark - Camels
01. Space Dimension Controller - The Birth of a Feeling
02. Lone - Cobra
03. Blawan - Shader
04. Pariah - Left Unsaid
05. Bullion - Ralph
06. Klaus - Tarry
07. Untold - U-29
08. The Chain - Suffer for Your Art
09. Pariah - Orpheus (Oneohtrix Point Never subliminal cops edit)
10. Airhead - Lightmeters