Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Everybody Must Get Stoned

My new favorite house record is Benny Blanko's 8 Ft. In The Air, released on Playhouse in 2004 to what I can only surmise was no press. There's only two mentions of it on ILM, one of which is a huge DJ Martian posting of that week's new releases at Forced Exposure. The other is Vahid's offhand recommendation that it's the best album Playhouse had released in the last 18 months. I didn't search for the number of Villalobos threads.

Even though I don't necessarily agree with him, I can understand Vahid's distrust/distate for the "Villalobos axis". It's abstracted "stoner house" into a kind of undancable autism. I grew to love (or at least respect) the last Villalobos record with him, find something to grasp in a track like "Miami" with its gnomic drum scrapings and powerfully physically bass that nonetheless lacks any kind of forward momentum. It's "listening house." I hestitate to call it IDM, but it's more like "electronic music drawing its pallette from house" than club music.

Villalobos is clearly a big draw on the club circuit (you know, when he can bother to shake himself out of his drug stupor and actually show up), and the sets I've heard have been very physical, very "big". (In one he drops M83's "Run Into Flowers" over a stomping house beat, not the Jackson clicking and popping remix, to transform it into the E anthem it always wanted to be.) But we're talking albums. And sometimes, even at home, I want a little something to bite into rather than just staring into space and goggling at those schools of scattering fish he seems to coax from his sampler.

The Blanko album is "micro-house" I guess, but it harkens back to the late 90's definition, all those early Motorbass records and Theo Parrish splitting the difference between tech- and deep-house. Pointilist jazz house. Big fat globs of Rhodes that have been rolled around in dirt and gravel. Dusty breaks. A raw, broken, bleary sound, that nonetheless oozes a fat, warm low-end. Moodymann rip-off business. Soul vocals instead of camp German spoken word. Gentle enough that you can play it as you go to bed as it is quietly physical enough that you can crank it up to drown out the air conditioner noise and dance around your living room, at least until your neighbors bang on the walls but fuck 'em, you're sick of their reggaeton and you're moving anyway.


Blogger OMC said...

Yeah, grandpa Vahid was right for once. ;) Lovely album (from 2004 you say?) although at times it can go past you without notice as "effective" as one those dry Villalobos tracks (not exactly a problem I guess.)

6:27 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

Awesome reads. Keep 'em coming.

10:57 AM  
Blogger vahid said...

ahem. "for once"???

11:49 AM  
Blogger OMC said...

okay, for once in the last 6 months. ;)

I suppose it sometimes goes past me because it feels so familiar. As if you have found one of those old albums you've played to death years ago.

12:32 PM  
Blogger hector23 said...

Man this is some like the ILM dance all stars (you should all get a pic in sequined suits). I can't wait to see what Vahid's cranky posts are going to be like.

bookmarked for sure.

PS Yea the Villalobos stuff is very much like IDM but it put shivers up my spine like no idm can. "Electonic music that draws its pallete from house" is a very precise turn of phrase.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Mark Slutsky said...

when i interviewed the guy behind mutek chile he told me that dude is such a big star there that "even my grandmother knows ricardo villalobos!"

not really on-topic but... amusing!

8:07 PM  
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