RV featuring Los Updates/Reboot, Baile/Caminando

[Sei Es Drum]

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Ricardo Villalobos’ best productions, the records of his I will play for my children to help explain why daddy can’t remember large swaths of his early twenties, might be behind him. But whenever I’ll tune into a bootleg or Youtube video from a Ricardo festival set (W has left the White House, sir; now will you please book some US gigs?), I can’t help but imagine him seconding Lil Wayne’s rueful boast on the burden of singularity: “We are not the same/ I am a Martian.” Everyone’s favorite floppy-haired, German-Chilean pure sound advocate has traversed stoned aural landscapes where few ears have dared venture before, and it’s only through the labyrinthine logic of his magnum DJ sets that three-quarters of his record bag makes any sense. I thus greet each new platter from Sei Es Drum, Villalobos’ quasi-white label platform on which he tosses the public some of his sets’ most typically-Ricardo material, with the excitement of owning a souvenir from this man’s space voyage and the trepidation of knowing it will bring me no closer to ultimate hallucinogenic-bongo knowledge.

“Baile,” credited to RV and featuring sleazy Los Updates dude Jorge Gonzalez on vocal duties, basically lives up to expectations. Villalobos, an unabashed Depeche Mode fanboy, injects about as much post-punk, electro, and breakbeat into his rhythmic palate — and as much aggression in his bass line — as he has since his landmark remix of Thomas Dolby’s “One Of Our Submarines” in 2002. Over the course of its twelve and a half minutes, syncopating beats keep things tense in between breaks of steamy, straightforward hats and snares. Aside from some punched-up kick and acid filters in the final third, though, this party keeps an even keel, perhaps to a fault. Like much of last year’s Vasco, “Baile” finds Villalobos trimming much of the fat from his arrangement but not his run-time. As his work from the last few years has shown us (see his remix of Shackleton’s “Blood On My Hands” or “Fizheuer Zieheuer”), letting your machines trip on for extra-extended periods can tease out serious euphoria from simple arrangements. And some of Villalobos’ most impressive work, like “4WD” (also with Jorge Gonzalez) and his take on Depeche Mode’s “Sinner In Me,” uses simple, sparse vocal melodies to warm up otherwise Spartan sound design. Unfortunately, these elements just don’t coalesce as well here, and Gonzalez’s vocals feel especially underutilized and un-integrated. But perhaps in the context of a heavily-layered transition on a club’s well-endowed sound system — i.e. Ricardo’s typical Thursday evening — “Baile” really jams.

Reboot, whose work for labels like Below and Be Chosen has revealed a deftness with driving organic percussion, never strays too far off the South America-Germany axis on the flip. If SIS’ innocuous Sei Es Drum anthem “Trompeta” from last year played like a CliffsNotes “Fizheuer Zieheuer,” then “Caminando” mimics “Primer Encuentro Latino Americano,” a quasi-remixing an acoustic singalong into an arena-sized tribal house rally. Reboot’s well-edited drums here absolutely slam, possibly because it sounds like there are thousands of them. As a potential dance floor moment, “Caminando” would feel far more at home eliciting good vibes at a Luciano gig than feeding red-eyed paranoia at Ricardo’s. It’s a downright mainstream A&R snag, even at well over twelve minutes, by the standards of house’s most avant-garde tastemaker. But even a Wire cover star must feel like sweating through that designer t-shirt every now and again.

eric cloutier  on July 16, 2009 at 12:45 PM

both tracks are absolutely horrendous. whomever said it on ra, the “spanish version of fred schneider” is so spot on its scary, not to mention that the beat sounds like its a preset on an old childrens casio keyboard.

reboot…i’ve figured him out. really, really, really, really, really well produced kickdrums, and nothing more. people are so blinded by their faces melting from his sub-frequency hits that they’re completely ignoring the fact the song a) goes nowhere, b) is just a bunch of stupid percussion loops, and c) you can hear the warping artifacts from ableton on the vocals.

i’m going to go out on a limb here and say the reviewer played the safety card as to avoid the throngs of fanboys from blowing his shit up.

Will Lynch  on July 16, 2009 at 1:24 PM

“…injects about as much post-punk, electro, and breakbeat into his rhythmic palate…”

and, of course, baille funk…

James  on July 16, 2009 at 2:41 PM

FWIW, I think Reboot’s tricks worked really well on those records for Below and Cocoon. Not sure about this one, but it’s a winning formula.

The Villalobos track is a serious letdown, but I don’t know that it’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard from him (some of those sides on Contexterrior don’t hold up well at all) and if he were a bit more publicly prolific (i.e. if he released more tracks outside of his inner circle) it may not garner this much attention.

Doozer  on July 16, 2009 at 6:05 PM

Emociones Clandestinas – Un Nuevo Baile

Jordan Rothlein  on July 17, 2009 at 9:44 AM

@eric cloutier, while message board fanboys can be pretty terrifying, I honestly didn’t diminish my disdain to thwart their wrath and preserve my virtual safety. Like, “Baile” really isn’t terrible… it’s got a nice little groove, and things do get kind of fun near the end. I’ve been trying it out at home, and it layers sort of nicely over/under tracks that actually go somewhere. Does it take entirely too long to get there? Are the vocals ill-advised considering the arrangement? Is the sound design Ricardo-by-numbers? Absolutely and for sure and yeah, sort of. But is it awful? Not really. Ricardo lately has retreated into himself (farther than before, I guess), making music so subtly detailed that to most ears but his has crossed over into being pretty esoteric and boring. Honestly, though, I took more offense to the drastically overrated yawnfest “Vasco,” maybe because Perlon put it out. At least “Baile” is sort of fun.

rocky  on July 17, 2009 at 11:45 AM

I don’t think it’s right that Caminando goes nowhere. Certainly you can hear the warping and the latin folk thing has been done to death, but it clearly goes ‘somewhere’.

Sam  on July 21, 2009 at 3:53 PM

In agreement with comment #1, except for one thing: since when has something sounding like a “preset on an old children’s casio keyboard” been a bad thing?

eric cloutier  on July 24, 2009 at 11:54 AM

since when has something sounding like a “preset on an old children’s casio keyboard” been a bad thing?

i meant it more in the realm of “that drum pattern sounds like one of those buttons on top of an old casio keyboard in composition.”

Serge Rocheaux  on August 10, 2009 at 6:38 PM

I think Ricardo shows the party animal that really is . Baile is a track that probably sound right only played by Ricardo Himself in front of a sweaty crowd .And Jorge Gonzalez is a weird character .

noman  on October 4, 2009 at 11:52 AM

think Ricardo shows the party animal that really is . Baile is a track that probably sound right only played by Ricardo Himself in front of a sweaty crowd .And Jorge Gonzalez is a weird character

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