ant proof that minimal has made it? Ricardo Villalobos is playing right before WestBam and Paul van Dyk at this year’s Love Parade. “Ichso”’s e-bowed electric guitar will be spun from a DJ riding down the street atop a float. Further proof can be found in the form of Salvador, a cash-in collection for the Frisbee Tracks label. When asked about this album’s release by Philip Sherburne, micro’s Boswell, Villalobos said, “There was no possibility of me saying no.” Frisbee owns the copyright, so they’re putting ‘em out.
Lucky for him, then, that the tracks are more instructive relics of a style yet formed rather than shoulda stayed in the bedroom embarrassments. The opener, “Que Belle Epoque 2006” is the best track—and most representative of his current style—on the disc. Its relentlessly dubby bassline that flutters up and down like it was tethered on a string is a trademark, but both its length (nearly thirteen minutes) and deep, almost tribal drums also tip you off to future developments. Like most Villalobos tracks, if you’re not prepared it’ll sound a little long—but if you sit tight and listen closely, revelations will pop up nearly every measure. As far as newer material is concerned, it doesn’t compare—you can see in your mind’s eye the turning of knobs to increase delay or decrease volume, but you have to imagine that in 2000 that this must’ve sent people back to their machines wondering how to raise their game.
Salvador is inexplicably presented out of chronological order. You’ll find the other side to “Que Belle Epoque” halfway into the disc. That one, “Lazer@Present,” is a more immediate track, banging its way from start to finish amid an aquatic dub melody and hints of latin percussion. “Suesse Cheques” holds its breath for nearly six minutes before exhaling its creaking micro-melody and hi-hat, while 1998’s “Unflug” is a freewheeling Latin work-out that oddly comes close to sounding like an outtake from Alcachofa.
The other material from 1998, both “Logohitz” and “Lugom-ix,” sound like an artist looking for himself, trying on a bit of upbeat stab-heavy techno (the former) and a bit of Detroit’s cool atmospherics (the latter). Understandably, neither really makes an impact except to remind us that we all start from somewhere. Similarly, the final track on the disc, a bonus mix of Senor Coconut’s “Electrolatino,” soldiers on for what seems like an interminable amount of time with only some conga beats to keep us company. It’s fifteen minutes of Villalobos at his most pretentious. And I can’t get enough of it.