- A staple of Soma Quality Recordings for nearly a decade, Envoy has been an enigma since 2004, when his run of melodic techno singles promptly ended. (A recent remix on TUG Underground indicates he's still kicking around the scene.) The Glasgow techno institution, however, has found a pretty surefire way to get his name fully back in the conversation: they've backed a reissue of "Seawall," the B2 from his 1996 Coallition EP [sic], with a remix from Ricardo Villalobos.
It's notable for how little Villalobos actually changes. Opening with murky, undulating chords inflected with tentative streaks of color, the original "Seawall" truly evokes the breaking of day on a less-than-sexy stretch of beachfront. Villalobos' version also sounds like it's making an early start—probably too early. Starting in the midst of a driving percussive groove intermixed with muddled conversation, the track seems to have emerged from a blackout and needs a minute or two to remember it's remixing something. But once Envoy's melody starts to take shape, Villalobos quickly finds the thread and gets down to the business of updating 16-year-old sound design. There are still a few screws loose—during a breakdown halfway through, Villalobos nearly fumbles the beat—but the rediscovered sense of purpose of his Dependent and Happy full-length thankfully stays intact.
A Seawall (Ricardo Villalobos Remix)