Here are some facts and a few gentle observations about a fiercely important presence in modern music.
As both Dj and producer Ricardo Villalobos has always travelled to the sound of a different drum. Born in Chile in 1970 the travels began at the age of three because Pinochet’s Chile was no place for family Villalobos.
So in 1973 they left for Germany taking the percussive language of South America with them, the young Villalobos was still surrounded by music, musicians and performance. Mr and Mrs V always included and even to a young boy it was quite clear. Get some percussion and some vocals and you can have a party – a party that perhaps might never stop.
Aged 10 he was joining these gatherings playing the congas and hoovering up the mix tapes that some older Dj’s were playing or even leaving behind.
Aged 12 he was making his own mix tapes and selling them at school to be able to afford to buy records and then more records. This mania, 30 something years later shows no sign of stopping.
Back to the pasture. Aged 15 and the first gig request, the school disco and the young collection gets played and before long University studies were being punctuated by the first proper gigs in Darmstadt. Inevitably the studies stopped, all these records needed a home.
1988 ish and there was also music to be made, the drum machine had been purchased.
2015 and Ricardo is based in Berlin and has developed a studio that feels like it might take off at any moment, just launch itself somewhere. There is a sense on a daily basis, and he is there every day when not playing, that anything could happen. In this cluttered almost claustrophobic place a staggering body of work continues to evolve, emerge and then park itself. Only he knows for how long.
The search for the right frequencies. When they seem elusive build them, generate them yourself. Work with people, share with people, listen to people. A bigger studio means more tools but nothing else has changed, the approach remains the same as with that first Roland drum machine.
Find yourself on the dancefloor and this same sense of purity and possibility applies. Across the globe anything might happen and when you stir fry this with the anticipation that hovers over any Villalobos show it probably will.
Clubs. From Dorian Gray to Robert Johnson to Fabric and of course the terrace of Amnesia Ibiza – some places that are now synonymous with Ricardo shows. Happenings. Playing to 300,000 at Love Parade 2006 Berlin an example of the other end of the scale.
Music. The unbelievable Alcachofa album of 2003 was followed by another stunner. Thé Au Harem D’Archimède. Fabric 37, Dependent and Happy from 2012. A wealth of singles, EP’s and compilations
Music that keeps giving, that somehow stays relevant. Remixes that resounded and keep rebounding. The Sinner in Me from perhaps his biggest influence, Depeche Mode. At almost the beginning of dubstep the amazing Shackleton remix of Blood on My Hands. The majestic Beck remix of Cellphone’s Dead .. and so on and so on ..take your pick
In fact Ricardo would not approve of picking out highlights in any area. What you see or feel is always his best.
From the start he waved off the normal promotional adventures and mediums and it is the party that persists, the freedom to create. Sharing music and thoughts where it matters and pushing for the parties and people that can come together under an umbrella that has harmony and connection as the goal.
Charts, listings, best and worsts and any other competitions do not register in this world. Nor does all the chatter.
If it is arrogance it is a beautiful arrogance.
Less words would actually be better. The music does the talking, that is the way it should be. It is a unique approach from a major artist
Be responsible and protect irresponsibility.
Ricardo Villalobos is a caring sharing vital presence in modern music.