We revisit one of the decade's key remixes, a spellbinding minimal house track from the master of the sound.
In 2013, two days before Christmas, Ricardo Villalobos released what might be this decade's most stunning remix. As the best dance music often does, Everywhere You Go (Villalobos Mixes) landed as a simple 12-inch, with no promotion and no artwork. Two 15-minute tracks sat on either side of the black vinyl, one of which, the "Celestial Voice Resurrection Mix," is already considered a classic. The "Celestial Voice Amnesia Resurrection Mix," a 28-minute digital-only version of the same track, is even better.
Released on Jazzland Recordings, this extended version is the closest thing to being in Villalobos's Berlin studio for one of his famous live jams. For years, these live takes, which can stretch for hours, have been his preferred way to record music. He often records several versions of the same track or remix, usually around 30 minutes long. It's up to the labels to choose which section to release. Because most of his music is vinyl-only, we rarely hear these full recordings, which stay as unreleased club tracks for Villalobos's inner circle. The "Celestial Voice Amnesia Resurrection Mix" is the kind of thing that would stay within that inner circle, only heard when DJs like Zip and Rhadoo spin late-hour sets at venues like Club Der Visionaere and Robert Johnson. Jazzland Recordings, a Norwegian label, made sure this remix reached a wider audience.
The previous year, Jazzland had released the self-titled debut album from Mari Kvien Brunvoll, a Norwegian folk and jazz singer. Brunvoll had won several awards in her home country and performed at some of its key jazz festivals, though she wasn't particularly known abroad. Villalobos played in Norway at least twice in 2012, though it's unclear how he came across "Everywhere You Go," a seven-minute track on the album's A-side, but it's easy to hear the appeal. The track is hauntingly minimal, just shards of percussion and Brunvoll's pained, pleading voice. Her vocals, describing a "strange man" I can only assume is metaphorical, are sped up for the remix, but Villalobos leaves the verses intact, preserving their spacey, haunted essence. Elsewhere, he splices snippets of voice amidst the tunnelling minimal groove and buries wordless, sung syllables in the mix. The groove and mood mutates as the minutes go by, moving through passages of calm and chaos, light and dark. It's a masterpiece.
Villalobos has released dozens of remixes in the six years since "Everywhere You Go," none of which carry the same allure. He clearly knows when he's made something especially great. Among the hundreds of tracks in Villalobos's catalogue, the most sought-after have been on his own label, Sei Es Drum, or, as was the case with his latest album, the label of a friend. DJs at Club Der Visionaere and Robert Johnson still reach for the vinyl version of the "Celestial Voice Resurrection Mix" rework today, though it's usually saved for long after peak-time, the special time at a party when loopy, ultra-repetitive tracks become magical. That Christmas in 2013, Villalobos reminded us why he's the master of such sounds.