Ricardo Villalobos - Salvador
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Ricardo Villalobos

Over the course of the past eight years or so, Ricardo Villalobos has managed to churn out such a steady and solid body of work that one could argue that he's one of only a small handfull of true, new superstar names in the field of dance music (along with Michael Mayer and a couple others). In terms of minimal dance music, he almost stands alone, refining the genre with small variations, clean lines, and a great sense of just how to escalate a track.

Salvador is a collection of his earliest work on Frisbee, bringing together seven tracks from between 1998 and 2001, most of which have been out of print for some time now. Filling out the collection (literally, as the release runs almost eighty minutes in total length) is his whopping fifteen-minute reworking of Senor Coconut's "Electrolatino." The disc opens with one of his classic tracks turned on its head as Villalobos takes "Que Belle Epoque" and gives it a modern update, stretching it out into even more of a beast, taking the 70s sample that the song builds on it and tugging and pulling and mining it until it's woven through the entire song.

Those expecting his early work to have the same emotional oomph may find themselves just a slight bit disappointed overall with the release, as it seems that he hasn't quite harnessed his full powers yet on the disc. "Tempura" thumps along for over ten minutes and features a couple killer builds, but doesn't have the melodic grab that much of his newer work does, but the watery "Suesse Cheques" released at the same time proves him unafraid to experiment with different techniques, hollowing out the kick and leaving the track largely floating through the clouds.

The two tracks that will probably crack the most skulls are "Logohitz" and "Lugom-ix," a slamming one-two punch that progress like avalanches falling down the side of a mountain, ripping out string stabs, mutated vocal samples, and hypnotic bass that keep things tumbling forward in a relentless way. The aforementioned Senor Coconut remix closes out the disc, and while it's not one of the better tracks, it's a nice comedown and a fun inclusion. Even Salvador collects his work just before he hit his prime, the release shows that Villalobos has always been a musician and producer to reckon with.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2006-05-18 21:02:43