Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer

Let me be blunt: Re:ECM, the album by two techno producers drawn largely from the catalog of a venerable European jazz imprint, should have sucked. Frankly I can’t imagine a less appealing scenario for an album – label known for an austere, sometimes downright new-agey approach to jazz (ahem Jan Garbarek) being pilfered by two lanky Eurotrash dudes, possibly working on commission(?). So how they managed to turn out a deeply odd, searching and serendipity-driven masterpiece of a record is mostly beyond me. To be fair, Villalobos had signalled a unique ability to corral a bunch of disparate sounds over a loose rhythmic framework and let them bounce off each other intermittently like malfunctioning bumper cars. It’s not wholly different from what Miles did in the 70s, and being too cool for school may be an asset when the idea is hanging out in the studio until enough tape has rolled that you have a record. I admit I don’t know Loderbauer as well, but his pedigree is impressive and he keeps good company (Moritz Von Oswald, Vladislav Delay). As for Villalobos, he may be actually at his best when being too weird for the dancefloor – an odd characteristic to find in a big-name DJ, but hardly an unwelcome one.

A/Visions 2: Re/Visioned Classical. Impérial, 1432 Rue de Bleury. Thursday, May 29. 7:30pm-9:25pm. Sold out.

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