Right off, I just wanted to point out that it's not really my intention to get in to posting tracks from the big players (Soma, UR...) because given enough time they'll all be relaunching on Beatport or similar - if they haven't already. And besides, if it's still in print you should be supporting creativity and paying for it.
I believe R&S is moving in the digital re-release direction too, although I'm not sure that label boss Renaat Vandepapeliere is altogether interested in looking backwards; me thinks any money he could make from his back catalogue would just go towards financing new acts.
When I think back about R&S, I can see it pretty much defined the early 90s for me. I spent a good amount of time searching for its latest releases or looking for other labels' output that followed on from the R&S sound. So many classics - the Ravesignal series; Radical Rob's "Monkeywah"; RHC's "Fever Called Love"; Spectrum's "Brazil"; the "Order To Dance" compilations. Mostly big room rave flavours, but also just straight up quality techno from the likes of Joey Beltram and Kevin Saunderson too.
So what is the best R&S release?
Resistance D's remix of DJ Hell's "My Definition Of House Music"?
Or something from CJ Bolland: "Mantra", "Camargue", "Space 3001 (Remix)", the absolutely storming Exclusive UK Remix of "Horsepower"?
Possibly even "Dominator" or "Mentasm"?...
Well, my favourite R&S choon is by Dave Clarke as Directional Force.
"Parameter" begins with a little speech about the potential of midi technology to create music with no boundaries (classic techno attitude that!) before moving into some very lush and melancholy pads. Quickly building into storming techno it hits a peak with a hard as fuck proto-jungle Amen Brothers breakbeat. But the track really gets good after this initial break, dropping back to just the kick and bassline before introducing a simple but beautiful one note melody and some really fat analogue pads. Then some fantastic ringing bells come in over the top and we're back to that banging breakbeat.
Rivals anything from Detroit for emotional depth and dancefloor energy.
As is often the case with classic tracks, "Parameter" is not the title track to the release; the two other tracks are more straight up acid-fused techno, quite hard for their day, but both quality choons with a good trippy edge. They haven't aged as well as Parameter, but care. Back in '91 I had to swap my copy of "Exposure To Little Electronic Noises" on Stealth to get a hold of this 12", which really hurt. But it was worth it.
Dave Clarke left the R&S fold after this release (something about money and how he felt he wasn't getting his fair share), but it'd be years before he put out anything of this calibre again - and even then, I don't rate his Red series all that highly. The Parameter EP was recorded and mixed in Renaat's Ghent studios so maybe he should get some credit for nurturing a classic.
Your submissions for best old school R&S track are most welcome, but must be pre-94 (not 1994 or later). And you can't vote for "Dominator" because, let's be honest, that track is crap. And not "Kinetic" either. I own it, but don't really like it. "Mentasm" shits me too, but it is a classic (spawning a few billion pale imitators) so you can vote it in if you want.