Weren’t they big back in the day? Not just big but huge. R&S were at the forefront of the European techno scene and helped cement Belgium’s standing in the world of the electronic beat with releases from CJ Bolland, Derrick May, Aphex Twin, DJ Hell, Dave Angel, Ken Ishii and System 7 to name but a few.
So what happened? Named after founders Renaat Vandepapeliere and Sabine Maes, R&S started off releasing disco tracks in the 80s and released their first acid house track (‘Drop the Deal’ by Code 61) in 1987. They soon gravitated towards the harder end of the electronica spectrum and were massively influential during the 90s. As tastes changed their power waned, but, you can’t keep a good horse down and they relaunched in 2008.
A bunch of Belgians you say? What’s that got to do with us over in Scotland? There are two reasons you should care (beyond their seminal back catalogue). Firstly, Optimo’s ever reliable JD Twitch has a new compilation In Order to Edit out on R&S. Secondly, he’s guesting at Men & Machines’ first birthday with an exclusive R&S only set (the first 50 punters in the door will receive a free copy of the CD).
So those M&M chaps must be R&S fans? ‘They represent a clear path through the history of techno and electronica from the European side,’ explain Alasdair Stuart and Ewan Dunnett. ‘Their resurgence can only be a good thing. Few record labels have been more important to European techno.’ The pair cite CJ Bolland’s ‘Mantra’ and Outlander’s ‘Vamp’ as their favourite R&S releases.
Should fit in nicely with the Men & Machines ethos ‘Our nights tend towards techno and house, but we also like playing earlier electronic music that influenced the development of these genres, such as EBM, synth pop, industrial, disco and dark wave. We play music you can thrust too,’ they explain with a cheeky wink.
R&S special at Men & Machines’ first birthday, Stereo, Glasgow, Sat 23 May.