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What is that makes RVNG Intl. such a beloved presence in the contemporary underground? The music seems to exist out of time and place: they release debuts which feel like cult classics, and reissue decades-old records which sound totally contemporary. Perhaps RVNG’s core USP is how well they understand the sensations of tenderness and timelessness. The label’s artists develop this tactility, no matter what form their sounds find: it brings humanity to Holly Herndon’s A.I. choruses and makes the proud, powerful poetry of Helado Negro stay longer in the consciousness.

Bleep Exclusive Cassettes for Lucrecia Dalt and Kate NV

You can see RVNG’s output as a seasonal rotation, and to that end a pair of albums this autumn make perfect sense. Released this September as a follow-up to her 2018 breakout Anticlines, Colombian sound artist Lucrecia Dalt’s No era sólida plays like a set of hibernation hymnals, the textures crackling like leaves underfoot and stark atmospherics reminiscent of evening chill setting in. And arriving in October, master cellist (and Radiohead muse) Oliver Coates’ skins n slime evokes the grandeur of a flock of birds departing south. The stop-in-your-tracks beauty of the album’s five-part ‘Caregiver’ suite feels especially resonant in this of all years, where the nature of care is critically essential yet under sustained attack. As well as beauty, Coates unleashes anger from his bow swoops, a cloak of drone and doom portending the grave unease of winter to come.

Earlier this summer, Kate NV took an opposite approach on Room For The Moon, her sound undergoing an evolutionary leap from the fringes to the pop centre. The Moscow artist landed on an eccentric bric-a-brac of songwriting in Japanese, Russian and French, and music which mined a middle ground between Tom Tom Club, Kate Bush, TV game shows and the breeziness of Haruomi Hosono, Shigeru Suzuki & Tatsuro Yamashita’s 1978 album Pacific. Room For The Moon's cheer, charm and giddy refusal to be pigeonholed secured it as one of the most outright fun albums of a year in sore need of it

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The dancefloor was a key part of RVNG’s DNA in its formation. The label was initially run by Matt Werth and Dave P. of Philadelphia’s freewheeling party Making Time. In the 2000s, mixes and edit 12”s by the likes of Lovefingers, Jacques Renault, JD Twitch and Justine D drilled this in at a time when disco infiltration was all the rage. A run of celebrated LPs from Stellar OM Source, Blondes and Maximillion Dunbar kept the strobes flashing, but from the mid-2010s onward the more beat-oriented material naturally siphoned into Tim Sweeney’s Beats in Space, which stands today as RVNG’s primary sub-label, as well as a canny fusion of two NYC institutions.

Most releases on Beats In Space gravitate around a mid-tempo groove, with crystalline synths shimmering and a lingering taste of acid house in the air; Powder’s sublime 2019 mix Powder In Space does a better job of explaining the vibe than words ever could. Sometimes releases up the funk and thump (Mount Liberation Unlimited, Lauer) and sometimes they let the twinkle overtake (E Ruscha V, Palmbomen II). The most recent additions to the BIS catalogue speak to how these approaches enmesh: the balmy Balearica of Lord Of The Isles’ Glisk Science EP stands on one side, and the pastoral splendor of Dukes Of Chutney’s Hazel on the other, both reaching for green and pleasant land just out of grasp.

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A commitment to probing possibilities and securing outcomes is further evinced by the RVNG series FRKWYS and its policy of retaining label talent through cross-generational collaborations. Spencer Doran’s group Visible Cloaks, whose 2017 RVNG album Reassemblage updated Japanese environmental music for the digital era, teamed up in 2019 with Japanese ambient originators Yoshio Ojima and Satsuki Shibano on FRKWYS Vol.15: serenitatem. Elsewhere, Suzanne Ciani and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith might cast Buchla spells together (Vol.13), or M. Geddes Gangras and Sun Araw hang out with dub reggae legends The Congos (Vol.9).

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