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1. Easy Lee
3. Bahaha Hahi
4. I try to live (Can I live)
7. What you say is more than I can say (Edit)
9. Fools garden (Black conga)
Welcome to the New Profundity. Ricardo Villalobos is one of the foremost producers in that Zone That Has No Name -- minimalism that's too rosy-cheeked to be minimal, techno too slinky (and dare we say: feminine) to be techno, house too adamantly anti-anthemic to be called house. On singles for Playhouse, Perlon, Frisbee Tracks and more, Villalobos -- both under his own name and as half of Ric Y Martin, alongside Martin Schopf (aka Dandy Jack) -- has broken open techno's crank-case and reconfigured its motor to run on nothing but pebbles and honey, silicon and grass. Less minimalist than profoundly, proudly, regally restrained, his music is full of pauses, patience and white space; he overlaps genres until only their outlines remain, like a kind of subtractive synthesis used to blot out all but the essence of a given combination of tones. Which brings us to Alcachofa, an album that, like its namesake -- the humble artichoke -- peels away in layers, stripping back rubbery leaves to reveal a sweet, pulpy interior crowned by a halo of thorns. 'Easy Lee,' the album's opener, is perversely delicious, pure dancefloor introversion. Graced by plangent, computer-modified vocals, the tune -- a staple in Richie Hawtin's afterhours sets -- is at once stark and darkly romantic, surface-bound and curiously hollowed, hyper-sexed and dead to the touch. It expands upon Villalobos' interest in processed vocals, introduced with 'What You Say Is More Than I Can Say' on an earlier 12" Play 62 -- here in an edited version, which offsets rubberized techno stomp with delusional robot groans to produce a uniquely sensual disorientation. Not all of Alcachofa is so introverted, but most of it is marked by the same kind of restraint, not hesitation. 'Theogenese' juggles South American syncopations, minimalist click-tracking, and '80s synth-drums, all suffused in a delicate sunrise aura, until every beat glows golden. 'Bahaha Hahi,' traveling under a name suggesting some tropical imbalance, dresses up subconscious vocals in clicks and gurgles -- the sound of snorkeling while stoned. A simpler rhythmic experiment is 'I Try To Live (Can I Live),' an excursion into flattened-out funk and artificial mouth harp. But the record's crowning glory must be 'Dexter,' which steadily cycles through a series of improbable chord changes like a cat prowling one of M.C. Escher's surreal staircases. Pensive, poignant, moving like water under ice, the track sucks you in and holds you deep in the heart of things -- and in the heart of Alcachofa. This isn't techno as we knew it; it's a biological experiment, a Petri dish of private elation and muttered damnations, a morphology of voices and tones and exhalations rubbed raw with salt and gravel. Alcachofa presents metamorphosis in play: restless, irrevocable. Wrapped in rubber, green and meaty, the world sounds different now.