- Weirdo minimal to keep dancers riveted.
- Just past halfway through "Fontec," a 13-minute track from Ricardo Villalobos's new double-EP, a flute appears, as if it wandered in from a nearby studio. Squiggly modular sounds soon climb and cover it—weird, but not that surprising. Villalobos's records have become more freeform over the years, unspooling into extended grooves that some electronic music fans find ludicrous. Sometimes his tracks loop hypnotically, other times they go radically off-piste. "Fontec," which falls apart and puts itself back together, finds a nice middle ground. There's a killer chord progression at the beginning that you'll forget about once the vivid live drum samples come in, a style that helps "Fontec" stay oddly thrilling. This is freaked-out Villalobos in top form.
Each of Mandela Move's four tracks are about 13-minutes long, which means they were probably subject to some judicious editing (Villalobos regularly submits full 30-minute recordings to labels, leaving others to decide which parts to use). The editing helps. Though each track is its own vortex of damp, squiggly texture and fussy drum patterns, they are primed for club use. Even the most standard, "Mandela Move," becomes an unexpectedly bumpy ride as it disappears into pockets of processing. Hi-hats and snares slam back in assertively before disappearing, as if Villalobos couldn't keep control of them. "Ectroscop" features a deep, writhing bassline that occasionally gets squeezed by Villalobos's dense arrangement.
Mandela Move bears some resemblance to Villalobos's last major release, Empirical House, but something about his latest record feels more fun and carefree. There's a goofy moment in "Beetglass" in which the distinctive clatter of the iPhone keyboard sounds, a disorienting moment that calls back to the messenger notification heard in "Tu Actitud" from 2012's Dependent And Happy. The track is unusually rollicking, with unsubtle snares and whistling synths. But along with the rest of Mandela Move, it will also keep dancers riveted.
A Mandela Move