While the post-rave UK techno scene was still finding its feet in the early 90s, Belgium’s legendary R&S label fired out startling, groundbreaking records which laid the blueprints for electronic music that decade. Now the label is reactivating its formidable catalogue of names such as Model 500 and Dave Angel with the Master Series. It starts with Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works 85-92, the album often credited with taking electronic music away from the dancefloor and into the home.
It’s impossible to convey the shockwaves caused by this young kid from Cornwall, a genuine child prodigy whose debut single, Analogue Bubblebath, set out his stall for confrontational sonic attack. This album, first released on the Apollo offshoot, demonstrated a mysterious, calmer side which would be rarely heard after Richard James’ fame grew and he became more concerned with making mischief while running Rephlex. Incredibly, James created the earliest of these home recordings at the age of 13, the latest when he was 19. They range from the squelchy acid of Green Calx to sepulchral calm of Xtal, most distinguished by unearthly, gorgeous melodies which kept lesser producers that followed going for years. Like the greatest electronic dance music, it hasn’t dated at all.