- Maurice Ravel was, it seems, a man often critical of his own compositions. He saw himself occupying a no man's land between the old style of melody and no-holds barred experimentation practiced by Schoenberg, and others. He once said that there is "an implied melodic outline in all vital music," but at the same time made room for the idea that repetition had the power to influence mood just as powerfully.
The resonances with modern techno are pretty obvious, and clearly something about Ravel's "Boléro" has caught the ears of the leading lights of dance music. Carl Craig and Moritz Von Oswald's recomposition of that 18-minute ballet—as well as music from fellow composer Modest Mussorgsky—into a sixty minute electronic odyssey was made with an obvious love for the original. And the world's oldest record label, Deutsche Grammophon, has now gone one step beyond Craig and Oswald's original recomposition, offering dance floor ready remixes by Craig himself and by Ricardo Villalobos. Both producers are on screaming form.
Craig's "Movement 8 (C2 Version)" uses rotund horn-like sounds before plunging into a techno monster that makes good on every bit of bass in the original recomposition. Craig's track is a terrifying, room-swallowing techno monster that could hold its own against Audion's most daring moments, but which nevertheless manages to preserve a touch of the delicacy of "Boléro."
Villalobos' take is lighter and retains more obvious classical sounds. His "Ponyhof" mix sent me to Google: Apparently a ponyhof is a sort of horse-riding/family vacation camp popular in Germany and the Netherlands. I can confirm that the galloping rhythms in Villalobos' version make for an equally good holiday. In a recent interview with XLR8R, Villalobos echoed Ravel by saying that melody "in the club context [is] more or less like a feeling injection, something coming from time to time but the most important thing is the rhythm trip." "Ponyhof" is both one hell of a rhythm trip and a luscious feeling injection.
If, in 80 years or so, the producers of the future are looking for something to recompose into their Negative-Hz music made on alien-brain instruments, I suggest they look no further than this piece of vinyl.
A Villalobos "Uli, Mein Ponyhof" Rmx
AA Movement 8 (c2 Version)