A sound that sweeps you up and carries you away on waves of bliss.
Louis Pattison 2008
The sweet, microscopically detailed sound of minimal techno has been making great inroads on the dancefloor over the last few years; its elaborate textures and subtle approach to tweaking your pleasure centres the perfect antidote to the spirit of crass excess that rules elsewhere in clubland. One of the masters of the form is Ricardo Villalobos. Villalobos' mix for London superclub Fabric suggests this is a man with a very particular vision; because while most DJs use such a platform as a chance to show off the hidden corners of their record collection, the daring picks that make them the envy of their peers, this Berlin-based DJ/producer instead chooses to stuff Fabric 36 full of his own compositions. Egotistical? Perhaps, or maybe it's just a fact that Villalobos really does do it better.
His approach is easing, gradual, always tempered with restraint: on Perc And Drums, minimal glitches, clicks and shudders gently percolate over the jazzy snap of live drums, snare and cymbal; on M.Bassy, kick drums drop with a feathery weight, while a digital hand-clap lands all distorted and fuzzy. The first vocals appear almost twenty minutes in, guest Jorge Gonzales’ sung-spoken narrative, a rambling monologue to the joys of a lost weekend – ''I say confusion is next to happiness – right?'' – part submerged in the fizz of 4 Wheel Drive, like frolicking in the midnight surf.
And it's not really until the album's twelve-minute centrepoint Andruic & Japan - a Latin-tinged pulse peppered with bursts of Japanese Taiko drumming and a Hispanic female voice talking about, amongst other things, the cooking of chicken giblets - that you realise you’re utterly hypnotised, caught in the seductive gaze of Villalobos’ claps and beats, clicks and cuts. The point being that the best minimal techno is microscopic in its design, but often all-consuming in its execution – a sound that sweeps you up and carries you away on waves of bliss.