Crisp, hot-tape, lo-fi techno with a quality akin to any Lobster Theremin release? This is Pablo R. Ruiz, a prolific producer of beautiful, emotional, analogue-sounding synth-pieces. Rich, thick kicks layered with sharp spacial snares and hi-hats characterise the percussion for each piece, with warm, dreamy pads and moog-y bass to match.
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But who is Pablo? Is this a real name or a moniker? The answer is… We have no idea. This person is more elusive than Ross From Friends (who turned out to be on an fb group with us, the As If crew). A <popular search engine> search yields his RA page, which features the following information:
And this image:
His Soundcloud page is packed with beautifully produced and expertly mixed 4×4 techno which is mostly unreleased. He seems to be pretty new on the scene but with interest from the likes of hurfyd it seems Pablo is catching some important attention.
QEP, Pablo’s only current release of just over one year is a restrained collection of circa 130bpm techno, my favourite of which is ‘Ser’ (‘Be’) which features a Fender Rhodes-heavy remix by J. Albert (whom I also also recommend you give a listen). The EP takes its name from the title track ‘Querer es Poder’ (‘Love is Power’), in which a husky female vocal whispers ‘Te Quiero’ seductively throughout. Listen below…
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The EP is released on two labels: No Problema Tapes on cassette as a limited release of 25 and digital on: Diamante Records. Both labels are Chilean perhaps alluding to Pablo’s origins? Or perhaps not… After all the name could just be an ironic nod to this guy:
The Soundcloud page states that he is from Michigan (possibly Detroit??) which I guess also makes some sense, though his sound does not sound solely Detroit-influenced.
Aside from the EP, Pablo seems to have a single track released on a Diamante 9-track compilation, which according to the description is the label’s 12th-release, compiled as a “representation of the existing Chilean scene”. The piece entitled ‘Sin Name’, was released in August 2015 and was featured with a glitch-ridden video on popular youtube channel Moskalus. Watch below…
Best watched as an entire piece than simply listened to, this could be my favourite. The circa 100bpm track is downbeat and processional which contrasts perfectly with the shakiness of the video. The effect is creepy yet frenetic, velvety yet nightmarish, like some horror-filled lullaby. The rest of the compilation features some major gems for other Chilean artists and is very worthy of a thorough listen. It is featured below and is available for digital download via Juno.
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Perusing his Soundcloud once again I understand what makes the sound so unique; The cleanness of the mixdown, which is hard to achieve with such distortion and flanger-effects on the kick drums and bass. Just squizz the following track:
L.O.L – which supposedly stands for Layers of Life, once again brings that rich analogue fuzz at the low end with a hint of flanger and analogue distortion, and yet, it is as clean as a whistle; – And not only that, the musical ideas and interesting, developed, well-layered and well sequenced. And as far as I can tell, it’s completely unreleased!
Feeling frustrated with all this mystery, we managed to get in touch. It turns out he’s not as elusive as we first thought! Read our conversation below:
AS IF: So to start, where are you from?
Pablo: I was born in Chile, I live in Detroit… I lived in Chile until I was 13 and moved to Detroit when my parents were looking for better opportunities. [I] was here for 8 years and then moved back to Santiago, 10 years later I’m back in Detroit again, [I] arrived a month ago and will be staying here for a longer time probably.
AS IF: And how long have you been making music?
Pablo: Well, on my own as a ‘producer’ I’ve been making music for about 2 years. I played in hardcore punk bands before that and was involved in that DIY scene in the early 2000s.
AS IF: Why did you decide to switch to techno? Do you think your moving to Detroit influenced your work/taste at all?
Pablo: It just happened naturally I never listened or enjoyed only one type of music, although my main introduction to dance were these parties in Detroit called Dorkwave and Sass, Mike Servito and other people associated to Ghostly used to DJ there and I would always go. I also went to DEMF (now known as Movement) a few times when it was free and that opened my ears to more techno and house. Later when I moved back to Chile I worked at a venue and would see my friend Diegors mix CDs there all the time and that really inspired me to ‘DJ’ and make music on my own. I got more interested in the Detroit/Chicago sound thanks to these moments and circumstances… now that I think about it I think that I valued more Detroit’s rich musical history when I was in Santiago! When you’re far away for a long time you dig more on the internet through Discogs etc and learn to educate yourself that way, cause the vinyl culture doesn’t exist and you don’t find a decent variety of vinyls for cheap the way you do here [Detroit]. Maybe in my present music you can feel some influence or maybe not, but I always try to make something that comes out naturally…
Pablo went on to discuss his music in more depth, emphasising that all his tracks are produced using analogue synths, and his unreleased material is generally recorded live. The live setup he currently uses consists of a ‘Sampletrak ST-224’ and a ‘Tempest Drum Synthesizer’ as “it is the only two things that [he] was able to transport from Chile due to weight restrictions.” (See below)
He also pointed us towards R0D0LF0 – the name he used to DJ/produce under before he was Pablo R. Ruiz, and the following track (also featured on Moskalus).
He also has releases under this alias on Diamante like the following piece:
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Both stay true to form. Pablo was very excited about the way he sound is heading and said that he plans to keep producing and performing in Michigan with an eye to performing out of state soon.
He is very active on Soundcloud, his last upload being a live set for Hot Juice Radio uploaded just a few days ago.
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So if like what you’ve heard so far (minus the Pablito track), then you should spend some time on Pablo R. Ruiz’s Soundcloud, featured below.