Image by Joss Kottmann
There was a time before the hour-long microbeat acid trip of Matsu that Ricardo Villalobos was busy crafting the music that would, in so many ways, shape his genre. Arguably one of the foremost pioneers in the minimal techno and micro-house scenes, the Chilean-German producer and DJ’s early work now stands as some of his most groundbreaking. His latest release, Mecker, arrives as a sort of time-capsule of that moment, first appearing as a short (dare we say “micro”) segment folded into his celebrated Fabric 36 mix. Since then countless versions have found their way online, with Villalobos’s most passionate fans constantly seeking out this relic like their icon’s discography’s own fountain of youth.
The track has finally been given an official release in two vinyl pressings of roughly 10 minutes each via Berlin’s black.round.twelve. Splitting the 20-minute track into two sides is a choice which pays off, zoning in on the key moments of the entire composition and presenting what may be Villalobos’s most accessible work in over a decade. And it’s a whole vibe.
Mecker is upbeat and pulsating, beginning with a rigid descending bassline that commands you to strut and wouldn’t feel out of place on a 90’s runway in Milan. A percussive claps kick in at 2min that pushes the beat further into its groove. Villalobos accents this with warping, squelchy modular synth work, which only add to the track’s louche attitude. However, Mecker’s standout moment arrives towards the seven minute mark, when the percussion recedes and the baseline takes on a snarling, beastly quality before the beat returns, harder than before. The track is driven by repetition, the melody of the bass unchanging from its first to its final moments, and the effect is deliciously hypnotic.
Had it been created today, Mecker would likely not be regarded as entirely original in its execution. But the provenance of the track serves as a reminder of what an extraordinarily visionary beatmaker Villalobos was at his prime.
Purchase Mecker here, and listen below: