Around a year ago, Saoirse unpacked nine records for us that she was desperate to own but were just a little too expensive to invest in. One of her picks was the immutable Ricardo Villalobos, “the only man I ever loved. I told him that once too”. The Chilean born DJ and producer has been a towering presence over techno for a quarter of a century, inspiring, moving, changing and reaffirming passions in anyone who has crossed his path. Following Saoirse‘s open love letter to Riccy, we had to explore those passions a bit further. Alongside Call Super, she picks five life-affirming moments in the presence or Mr V, in anticipation of the release of MDRNTY002, Ricardo Villalobos’ first release under his Richard Wolfsdorf moniker since 2005.
808 rolls at fabric, 2006.
Ricardo was beginning to incorporate the new fangled CDJs that were installed in the booth of Room 1 and he arrived with a CD that had recordings of different length drum rolls played on an 808 snare. Throughout the set he would just hit play and let these rolls steam over whatever track was playing to drive the crowd nuts. I’ve often thought of stealing the idea and I still may one day (that day possibly being Sunday August 6th 2017.) The thing is it’s so silly that I haven’t quite been able to bring myself to so far. I also remember that it wasn’t as busy as it often is that night, making it possibly my favourite morning at fabric with him.
2. A Sunday afternoon at Club der Visionaere, 2007.
I had arrived on my own as my two friends in the city at the time were too tired from the night before to come out again. I was having a pizza by the canal in the afternoon, the club was empty except for Ricardo and a couple of friends who were having an ice cream. I finished my pizza and waddled over, wanting to ask him if he had any tips to someone trying to find their way in the industry. He put his hands on my shoulders and said, “You have a dream and you must be yourself. Don’t go anywhere and we’ll have a wonderful night!” Whilst obviously corny the message of not trying to be anyone else is one that often gets crushed in the club world where there are lots of subtle shifts in fashion and emphasis and people try and nudge what they present to fit these changes. Villalobos has always stayed true to himself and its one of the things what makes him, and someone like Jeff Mills, a different calibre of artist. Hours later he was standing in front of me attempting to mix a record in that had two records underneath it on the turntable, and me and everyone else in that little box of a club were having an absolutely wonderful time.
3. Breakbeats in Pbar, 2010.
Villalobos plays the Perlon nights once or twice a year on a Friday at Panorama Bar. It’s never not been rammed when I’ve been down, and on this night he chose to stick to breakbeat for the first couple of hours. I have never seen so many Italian men who resolutely refuse to leave despite being visibly upset by what they’re listening to.
This is a track that pushed my sense of what my own music could be when it came out. This is music that emboldens, that lets you know that it’s OK to do anything you want within your music and it’s still straightforward enough to make it work in a club. It’s music that gives you all the confidence you should need to stop trying to please the masses or the simpler dancefloor, and instead contribute music to the world that involves making an effort to fall into. When you do however, it lifts up your thoughts, visions and lets your whole being run away with it.
Melodically this is my favourite of his. This is one of his, amongst probably a dozen or so, truly untouchable productions. Sigh. Love you RV, you’ve enriched my life so damn much with this alone.
“Some of my most important friendships and the love of my life came from that special occasion of RV in Room 1 at fabric. I have a lot to thank him for. The impact he has had on me musically is that charisma comes through unpredictability. Don’t be afraid, take the fucking risk.”
Rick Y Martin – ‘Froebel 1792’
Following on from the word unpredicatable, techno I find can be very formulaic. New elements happen at forseen times, it’s usually quite easy to pre-empt what’s coming next. One of my absolute favourite things about Ricardo’s music is that shit doesn’t happen as you would expect, I mean check this one for example, the clap doesn’t come in until 6 minutes in god damn it! I love that.
2) Ricardo Villalobos – ‘H.E.I.K.E.’ (Ricardo Villalobos Mood Mix)
I think it takes true courage and confidence in your music to hold back key moments until close to the end. It feels as if it’s a thank you to those who wait for that part, this track is quite an old one dating back to 1998. Even at that early stage he was keeping back the most beautiful parts until 9.12 mins to reaffirm how great the track was.
3) A1 People – ‘Do It’ (Metamatics Remix)
It was about 10am on the morning of 26th January 2016 in Room 1 fabric. Although I’ve attended Ricardo gigs for about 10 years or more this was possibly one of my favourite sets to date, I was there with a close friend who’d never been to his room 1 sessions and after a few solid hours of rolly dubby straight stomp your feet 4/4 this came in and my friend just looked at me, pulled me close and said “ok, I get it now”.
4) Ricardo Villalobos – ‘Hansup’
I kind of feel that some of Ricardo’s music should only be played by him. He probably won’t appreciate me saying that so I apologise in advance, but really what I mean is, there isn’t anyone else who DJs like him with that particular sound. Certain productions of his just sound so much better when he plays it. This is one of those records.
5) Richard Wolfsdorf – ‘BOSCH’
Seeing as this playlist is in reference to the new Wolfsdorf it feels important to mention this moniker, and although the choice is predictable I think it’s important to ask, Do you know how fucking hard it is to write a track with bongos and not make it sound shit? Even the actual word “bongos” sounds shit. Well, viva la bongos in this record.
MDRNTY002, Ricardo Villalobos’ first release under his Richard Wolfsdorf moniker since 2005 is now sold out with a repress due this month. Stream the B-side ‘Fiva 2’ here.
Ricardo Villalobos, Call Super and Saoirse all play Love Saves The Day in Bristol (27th-28th May).