Ricardo Villalobos

Fabric 36

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The 36th volume in the popular Fabric series of DJ-mix CDs is unique. Mixed by Ricardo Villalobos, the CD is comprised entirely of new, nowhere-else-available tracks produced either by the iconic Chilean/German DJ alone or with a collaborator. So, in a way, Fabric 36 serves as both a DJ mix as well as a new studio album. Similar in style to the DE9 mixes of fellow minimal techno figurehead Richie Hawtin (Closer to the Edit, 2001; Transitions, 2005), the tracks are spare, multi-layered, and ever-changing. In fact, without the track numbers it can be tricky to pinpoint where the transitions are from one to the next -- a very fluid, engrossing mix this is, to such an extent that the entire CD feels like one long track that ebbs and flows (and unfortunately growing quite dull during the seemingly never-ending 12-minute "Andruic and Japan" halfway through). Fans of Villalobos (especially cultists) will find plenty to enjoy here; on the other hand, fans of the Fabric series (rather than of Villalobos himself) may find this particular volume too esoteric for their taste. Either way, Fabric 36 is a welcome entry in the discography of Villalobos, whose studio output -- with the exception of repackaged archival material (Salvador, 2006; Unflug Mixes, 2006) and the notorious track "Fizheuer Zieheuer" -- had slowed considerably in recent years as his renown grew to iconic status and his in-person DJing consequently grew in demand. While Fabric 36 is neither on a par with Villalobos' best DJ mixes (Taka Taka, 2003) nor his best studio albums (Alcachofa, 2003), it's an outstanding effort nonetheless and should be of interest to anyone who enjoys creative electronic dance music, particularly of the minimal variety.

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