VILLALOBOS - The movie (my review)

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plastik
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VILLALOBOS - The movie (my review)

Post by plastik » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:01 pm

dear mnml users and readers,
tuesday sept. 8th I attended the screening of VILLALOBOS, the movie-documentary by german film director romuald karmakar at the "66 mostra internazionale d'arte cinematografica" in Venice, ITALY.
Ricardo himself was attending the screening, as well as mr. karmakar and other people from the production team. it was a great surprise to see Ricardo there, and the whole thing was just a breath of fresh air to an otherwise glamorous and sometime flashy event. big up for the guy!! he was quite a sight!!

the documentary is, at first, a very deep and toughtful insight into Ricardo's way of working and thinking. I think it's mainly a movie for "geeks alike" and people fond of the more technical and psychological (if I may) aspects of working in music (even though the live footage of him djing are priceless).

there's a sort of "no-in-between" policy in the scenes: you switch from Ricardo in the studio to Ricardo bombing dancefloors to heavy techno. I saw some people in the theatre bouncing from their seats wheh the bass drum kicked in all of a sudden. suffice to say, the movie opens with a b2b with luciano, for a good 5 minutes of their finest.

the most interesting part is Ricardo in the studio, without any doubt. he is shown picking up vinyls he gets sent from labels. he just listens to the tunes for no more than 10 seconds and decides right away which are working and which not. he then writes short notes on the vinyl sleeve, such as "super" or "perky tool", as to what the record is gonna suit best in a dj set. nice to see when he adjusts the pitch to find the right balance of the track. he names the djs who sent him stuff, which sounded right to me.

his studio is really outstanding. he has that much talked about speakers which cost him a fortune. they look like big white horns, like big bells sort of. he explains that the horn shape captures more music than the normal speaker, and sends back to the listener more sounds than ever. he had them custom made by someone in berlin, where he usually hangs out to find those small shops that still handmake instruments.
he says that his favourite ever recordings are those old classical records from the 50s, 60s and 70s, because they have the best sound balance. he explains how he values those old sound enginneers who were so ahead of their time who would seek the best spot to put mics in a room just by listening to the instruments playing with their ears.

he goes on explaining his love for classical music, the likes of von karajan and such, revealing how he's working on a remix for the berliner orchestra on a version of ravel's bolero. he gets sent the samples which he works on, quantizing and re-arranging. he shows his computer working on an audio sample, along with the effects and instruments he uses. very interesting to see how he creates his beats: he has several pads which he drums on, and selects the different sounds on the computer (congas, snare and so on). a nice mix of analogue and digital, in a way, even though the monster modular, wall-sized synth he has is amazing. he shows all the different pieces, the lfo, the reverb (in which he fits a cigarette butt between moving iron bars to spice up the effect), telling that he doesn't even know what all the cables actually do most of the time. funny when he says that the different modules can cost him between 80 and 150 euros each, so that the average student (!) may afford to buy it step-by-step.

in between footage of him djing, we can see him discussing sociological issues (again, if I may say that): he says that his parents and people of their age used to have more sex than kids nowadays. he say that kids today go out and take drugs because they're scared of failing in relationships, so they got out and get high as to replace sex. I know this sounds kinda strange, given that this speech was told by him in the backstage of ibiza's privilege before a b2b with luciano and raresh, but he was incredibly sober and well put in that.
interesting is when he's checking out some footage of him djing with the camera guys, and a siren goes on. he say that he enjoys playing a siren from time to time, but then they proceed on a discusssion whether to play sirens in former yugosalvia, croatia and serbia, compared to japan or germany. he says he would never play a siren in japan or in east europe, while he says that germans think so little of themselves and sort of think they deserve to be remainded of old times that they actually enjoy a siren. well, that gives you the idea where the documentary goes to sometimes :)

sometimes he gets pensive and reflective: he says that by djing he is damaging his ears, and so damaging his work as a musician, which he values greatly. he's also happier at how music is more melodic now: he say that a couple of years ago there was all that weird freaked-out minimal, but now melody's back.

the footage of him at panorama is super!! (even though there's a brilliant scene of him doing a b2b with Richie Hawtin at sonar 2006). while at panorama, you feel like you're a real fan who stares at him from the side of the stage, all dark and doomy as panorama only gets. all of a sudden, the music stops and you're like taken inside Ricardo's headphones: he has actually stopped playback from the cd. then you hear the music go off again, you can hear him adjusting the pitch and stretching the cd. the music builds up step by step until it's synced to the beat. like being inside his head, in a way.

the movie is definetely worth watching, even though there are some minor flaws. the director gets stuck for a bit on the modular synth part, asking Ricardo silly questions like "what's behind the wall?", "what does the synth do at night?", which waste a good 5 minutes of footage. I don't even know how they made the final cut.

it's a strange movie, more for the dedicated and the committed than the average gig goer. it's slow, sometimes Ricardo stops talking and just is lost in his own thoughts. it needs a couple of watching to get a good grip of it, I guess. but undoubtely a unique piece of art.

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Post by Themis » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:12 pm

thanks for the review

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Re: VILLALOBOS - The movie (my review)

Post by miniKAT » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:15 pm

plastik wrote:dear mnml users and readers,
tuesday sept. 8th I attended the screening of VILLALOBOS, the movie-documentary by german film director romuald karmakar at the "66 mostra internazionale d'arte cinematografica" in Venice, ITALY.
Ricardo himself was attending the screening, as well as mr. karmakar and other people from the production team. it was a great surprise to see Ricardo there, and the whole thing was just a breath of fresh air to an otherwise glamorous and sometime flashy event. big up for the guy!! he was quite a sight!!

the documentary is, at first, a very deep and toughtful insight into Ricardo's way of working and thinking. I think it's mainly a movie for "geeks alike" and people fond of the more technical and psychological (if I may) aspects of working in music (even though the live footage of him djing are priceless).

there's a sort of "no-in-between" policy in the scenes: you switch from Ricardo in the studio to Ricardo bombing dancefloors to heavy techno. I saw some people in the theatre bouncing from their seats wheh the bass drum kicked in all of a sudden. suffice to say, the movie opens with a b2b with luciano, for a good 5 minutes of their finest.

the most interesting part is Ricardo in the studio, without any doubt. he is shown picking up vinyls he gets sent from labels. he just listens to the tunes for no more than 10 seconds and decides right away which are working and which not. he then writes short notes on the vinyl sleeve, such as "super" or "perky tool", as to what the record is gonna suit best in a dj set. nice to see when he adjusts the pitch to find the right balance of the track. he names the djs who sent him stuff, which sounded right to me.

his studio is really outstanding. he has that much talked about speakers which cost him a fortune. they look like big white horns, like big bells sort of. he explains that the horn shape captures more music than the normal speaker, and sends back to the listener more sounds than ever. he had them custom made by someone in berlin, where he usually hangs out to find those small shops that still handmake instruments.
he says that his favourite ever recordings are those old classical records from the 50s, 60s and 70s, because they have the best sound balance. he explains how he values those old sound enginneers who were so ahead of their time who would seek the best spot to put mics in a room just by listening to the instruments playing with their ears.

he goes on explaining his love for classical music, the likes of von karajan and such, revealing how he's working on a remix for the berliner orchestra on a version of ravel's bolero. he gets sent the samples which he works on, quantizing and re-arranging. he shows his computer working on an audio sample, along with the effects and instruments he uses. very interesting to see how he creates his beats: he has several pads which he drums on, and selects the different sounds on the computer (congas, snare and so on). a nice mix of analogue and digital, in a way, even though the monster modular, wall-sized synth he has is amazing. he shows all the different pieces, the lfo, the reverb (in which he fits a cigarette butt between moving iron bars to spice up the effect), telling that he doesn't even know what all the cables actually do most of the time. funny when he says that the different modules can cost him between 80 and 150 euros each, so that the average student (!) may afford to buy it step-by-step.

in between footage of him djing, we can see him discussing sociological issues (again, if I may say that): he says that his parents and people of their age used to have more sex than kids nowadays. he say that kids today go out and take drugs because they're scared of failing in relationships, so they got out and get high as to replace sex. I know this sounds kinda strange, given that this speech was told by him in the backstage of ibiza's privilege before a b2b with luciano and raresh, but he was incredibly sober and well put in that.
interesting is when he's checking out some footage of him djing with the camera guys, and a siren goes on. he say that he enjoys playing a siren from time to time, but then they proceed on a discusssion whether to play sirens in former yugosalvia, croatia and serbia, compared to japan or germany. he says he would never play a siren in japan or in east europe, while he says that germans think so little of themselves and sort of think they deserve to be remainded of old times that they actually enjoy a siren. well, that gives you the idea where the documentary goes to sometimes :)

sometimes he gets pensive and reflective: he says that by djing he is damaging his ears, and so damaging his work as a musician, which he values greatly. he's also happier at how music is more melodic now: he say that a couple of years ago there was all that weird freaked-out minimal, but now melody's back.

the footage of him at panorama is super!! (even though there's a brilliant scene of him doing a b2b with Richie Hawtin at sonar 2006). while at panorama, you feel like you're a real fan who stares at him from the side of the stage, all dark and doomy as panorama only gets. all of a sudden, the music stops and you're like taken inside Ricardo's headphones: he has actually stopped playback from the cd. then you hear the music go off again, you can hear him adjusting the pitch and stretching the cd. the music builds up step by step until it's synced to the beat. like being inside his head, in a way.

the movie is definetely worth watching, even though there are some minor flaws. the director gets stuck for a bit on the modular synth part, asking Ricardo silly questions like "what's behind the wall?", "what does the synth do at night?", which waste a good 5 minutes of footage. I don't even know how they made the final cut.

it's a strange movie, more for the dedicated and the committed than the average gig goer. it's slow, sometimes Ricardo stops talking and just is lost in his own thoughts. it needs a couple of watching to get a good grip of it, I guess. but undoubtely a unique piece of art.
Sounds very interesting, thanx.

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Post by cloutier » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:20 pm

are you talking about the bullfrog monitors? http://www.martion.net/english/produkte01.html 99% sure they aren't custom made. i mean, you can buy them if you have the cash.

as for the part about him writing on the jacket...i don't know anyone that DOESN'T do that with whitelabels. its really the only way to differentiate them.


regardless, the entire thing sounds very interesting, especially the philosophic side of villalobos. could be very, very entertaining. is the movie out already? anybody have a torrent? haha.
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Post by pheek » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:23 pm

thank you very much for your time in this writing. I was looking fwd to hear someone talk about it.

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Post by b-ran » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:28 pm

cloutier wrote:are you talking about the bullfrog monitors? http://www.martion.net/english/produkte01.html 99% sure they aren't custom made. i mean, you can buy them if you have the cash.
he has those but also the horn shaped speakers that thomas brinkmann has...custom i guess by modifying them to work well for his studio space? not really sure

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Post by oblioblioblio » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:35 pm

I think the custom ones are the Martion Orgons .

There were some clips of his studio in the arte 24h Berlin thing, which has some highlights in the videos section of this forum.

He only speaks in Gergam with no subtitles but it's still a pleasure to watch. I liked the tracks that he was playing. Quite dubsteppy rhythms (well, the kick drum was), but still very "villalobos" sounding.

Really looking forward to seeing the whole film. Thanks for the write up.

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Post by upekah » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:35 pm

Thanks for this review :)
plaster wrote:you can't be a leader if are a follower.

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