This is a unique entry in the Fabric series because rather than doing a compilation DJ set like everyone else, Ricardo Villalobos uses his own tracks exclusively. This is bound to be a polarizing release. Villalobos’s style is so unique. It’s some of the most subtle electronic music (or microhouse - whatever you want to call it) around. If you listen to his music through tiny computer speakers, it is the most boring music in the world because you’re missing all of the sonic detail. Villalobos’s tracks are very repetitive, very long, and very detailed at a microscopic level. You need good speakers and a quite environment to get the most out of his music, and the tracks on his Fabric release are no exception. That right there rules out this set for casual listeners who tend to like the standard Fabric mixes.
As a Villalobos lover, I think this is an amazing set. It contains a lot of tracks that have appeared only on vinyl, usually on obscure labels, and realistically, most of us have no hope of ever tracking them down. Plus, a few tracks on here like “Andruic & Japan” and “Fitzpatrick” come from Villalobos’s “Sei Es Drum” triple vinyl album, which sells for more than $100 on the rare occasions that it shows up for sale at all. The chance to own these tracks in a high quality format, as opposed to some MP3s that a guy made from a vinyl rip, is awesome.
For me, the inclusion of “Andruic & Japan” is worth the price of the set alone. I realize that some people just hate this track. I love it because a) the beat is amazing, b) the seemingly non-sensical ramblings of the monologue are mysterious in a way that makes me so curious as to what is being said, really, and c) because of the superimposed tyco drumming. The Japanese tyco drum samples are so cool because they make the track truly polyrhythmic. In technical terms, the quarter note triplet becomes the new quarter note for the tyco parts, such that they are, in effect, playing at one-third the speed of the rest of the track. But, since their tempo is clearly derived from the original tempo, it all fits. It’s strange, but it fits. This is an incredibly hip thing for an electronic track to do. You hear this stuff in jazz and in afro-cuban music a lot, but not in house/techno/microhouse. I’m not sure if my explanation will help anyone enjoy it more, but it at least explains part of what makes the track interesting from a compositional perspective.
For Villalobos fans, this is essential listening. If you’re generally a microhouse fan, but you’re not too familiar with Villalobos, I would recommend starting with Alcachofa, as it is his most easily accessible work. If you just like electronic music and you tend to dig Fabric mixes, I would approach this with caution. You might love it, but it’s atypical. If you’re an adventurous listener and you like to explore new styles of electronic music, I highly recommend checking out Villalobos; but, I would not recommend starting here. Again, Alcachofa is really the place to begin. Then check out “The Au Harem D’Archimede,” which is an absolute masterpiece.