These days it is highly unusual to come across an electronic music album that could be filed in a section all of its own. Yet Matias Aguayo looks to have managed that feat with Ay Ay Ay, his second album for Kompakt.
The title says a lot – for these days Kompakt artists seem to be branching out into a more primal form of dance music, tapping into its first principles as a communal form of expression.
That theme runs throughout Ay Ay Ay, where a primal energy stays close to the surface in the frequent chanted vocals, the beefy bass drums and the clattering percussion used in between. The inspiration is Aguayo’s BumBumBox parties, but the voice is just his own, multitracked to as many as fifty parts in places.
The implication is that a load of people have gathered in the same space, ready to dance to a beat of Aguayo’s choosing, with the sound concentrating on the rhythm rather than an obvious melody. This grows organically, with a seemingly improvised approach, but in reality Aguayo is keeping a close eye on developments from the control room desk, carefully sculpting each vocal inflection.
After a while the tracks meld into one, becoming a throbbing, heaving mass of rhythm based around these persistent melodic loops, the sounds not so much structured as gathering in power and intensity. To have this form of music for a whole album is bold indeed, but such is the energy behind it that the approach works.
At times you wonder if Aguayo restricted his input to vocals only, for some of the accompanying sounds are like body percussion – like a modernised Bobby McFerrin. Certainly the impact is powerful, akin to some of the more tribal tracks fellow Chilean Ricardo Villalobos might use in an epic DJ set. In fact the album takes on a DJ set feel, each track building on the last.
So for highly original dance music that’s difficult to categorise, start right here for a new sonic experience. Is it techno? Is it house? Neither really – but it’s primal, life-affirming and powerfully personal, demanding to be heard.