Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer: Re: ECM (2xCD, ECM, June 2011)

Dance remixes of classical music can be an ugly thing. Just think what William Orbit did to poor Sammy Barber, my dears. We would expect something rather more subtle from Messrs Villalobos and Loderbauer, and subtlety is what we get in spades. This is a quiet, refined minimalism, never repetitive but with a structure which is just barely there: in its more abstract moments, it teeters on the brink of sounding like they’ve dozed off over the live mixing desk, or perhaps entered some kind of trance. When there are beats, they are mostly skittering brushed snares, as if played by a drummer in the corner of a smoky jazz club who is distracted by doubts about whether they’re actually meant to be somewhere else. Now fragments of soaring string melodies float in and out, now horns parp, now something that sounds like it may be a dulcimer idles for a while and then wanders off. It does have its more together moments: in their reworking of Alexander Knaifel’s Blazhenstva, for example, the distant Ligeti-like atonal chorus and the whispering solo violin work in a recognizable counterpoint against the softly beats of the foreground, though even then as the track progresses this formation is gently degraded by a touch of post-processed crackle. This is like a half-forgotten dream of music, and I find it very easy to get caught up in, the sparseness and evident precision leading me to wonder why that note, where there in the mix, why now? This was clearly a labour of love for its creators, and it is hugely rewarding. (I apologize if the pretension levels in this post have exceeded even my normal elevated standards. All I can say is that you should see the liner notes.)

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Electronic.

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