Ricardo Villalobos / Los Updates / Anthony Collins - Joli Chat EP - Nice Cat Records (out 03/04)
Back before Villalobos became a byword for ceiling-punching, deck-wrecking minimalism (witness the insane response to Sensu booking him for the subby lately), he was fairly well known for sculpting spectral, reductionist techno and house. Reuniting with previous collaborators Los Updates and Anthony Collins for the Joli Chat EP, Villalobos returns to weaving darkly minimal soundscapes full of dried out and disquieting percussion. On the A-side, I Throw Water into the Lake rolls along on slinky percussion and a looping vocal that slides and drips through filter patterns, occasionally swallowing itself in a mess of repeats. Channeling the kind of funky (small f) grooves that Villalobos imbued his earliest works with, it's definitely a dancefloor mover, but at 12 minutes long, manages to retain the same kind of exploratory, strung-out vibe that marked his 30minute excursions for Perlon, or the faintly ludicrous Blood on My Hands remix. With a rattly, loose snare pattern, Water contains more than a few nods to South American folk music, offset by the mechanical-sounding redux sweep cutting through the background, and the big techy chord working its way to the forefront about six minutes in. The B-side, I Miss You So Much similarly draws on elements of folk music, but pushes them through an intense refining process, reducing full-flavoured and rugged riffs to the bare bones; the vocal disappears to the point of nothing before returning over the course of one four minute section. Like the micro-house of ~scape or Sahko, this is very much love-hate music, but it's essential groove and rich sounds ensure that Joli Chat is more than just experiments in reductionism.