In Barcelona, Manel Ruiz is a legend. Resident DJ at the legendary Moviedisco under the alias Ébola, a usual on the dance floor of Joan Llongueras’ Nitsa, an affiliate of the Minifunk label with his project Neue Lärmklassiker … his resume doesn’t lie; he was there when underground electronic music started to come to life in the city. For years, his dreamy, highly melodic IDM productions were worshipped by anyone who had access to them (the closest to this vibe that was released was his remix for Vicknoise, included in Factor City’s second reference). But for some reason, Manel’s music seemed destined to remain hidden, only within the reach of a few fortunate souls.
But everything changed with the arrival of Sistema, the project through which he has channelled the bulk of his productions so far. Even so, it seemed that the idea of an album that would be a definitive over-view of his musical vision was little more than a chimera. Until Natura Sonoris appeared; with the untiring Henry Saiz at its head, eager to fill a void that was obviously unfair. Remarking on the long and winding road that has led to the album is a fundamental part of understanding the nature of it. The thing is, as Manel himself explains in the (succinct) track by track commentary for these pages, “Possible Sounds Of Möbius” is a sound metaphor for this route. It is a collection of songs that capture moments spread out over the last ten years and that inevitably show the influences that have marked Sistema’s eclectic personality.
If there is one thing that has always defined Manel’s productions it is his absolute mastery of melodies. This again makes itself patently clear from the outset, with the first beats of the album, in cuts like the opener “Entrée”. Similarly, the rescued “Corte Pölar” calls upon his mastery of one of the languages that has most heavily marked his career: that of 90s British-based IDM. A code that also shows itself in the synthetic evocation of “X La Phase”, the pastoral airs of “Plànol Paralel” and the blinding beauty of “Nodo 6” (the only word that can define it precisely is “bliss”). This group of tracks are the fruit of his eternal love for the labels Rephlex, Skam and Warp; but over the years, the Barcelona producer has added various influences to his repertoire that have also left their mark on the album. However, always with an unwaveringly personal twist. In “Humo” - a track that came about “after listening to some Kompakt” - he wraps the shuffle rhythms popularised in their day by the Cologne label, in his trademark weightless melodies and narcotic atmospheres. Meanwhile with “Nodo Rmo” he recovers the dub-techno that he made as Umbral (his ephemeral project with Marc Piñol), but adds a bit of a neo-trance twist to it that links it to the golden age of Border Community. There is also space on “Possible Sounds Of Möbius” for the less well-known aspects of his sound; such as, for example, the cosmic, openly vintage air of compositions like “1976”, “Observatorio De Stars” and “20903”. By the same token, there is also room for moments that explore the darker corners of his soul, such as the twisted, highly adventurous “L’inter Na” and “Section de Niña”.
“Possible Sounds Of Möbius” is definitely (forgive the pun) the only possible album that could have come from Sistema’s mind: multifaceted, overflowing, intrepid, and sumptuous. A work whose stylistic variety might, on paper, seem to work against its cohesion, but which - on the contrary - ends up revealing itself to be a thoroughly absorbing trip that touches you emotionally like few other Spanish electronic works do. In case there was any doubt, this is a fucking masterpiece.