Album Reviews

Matias Aguayo – The Visitor

(Cómeme) UK release date: 24 June 2013

Matias Aguayo - The Visitor Chilean producer Matias Aguayo is a globalized musician in the truest sense. Aguayo’s sound is a rich melting pot of textures, sounds and rhythms informed by a long career travelling the world working at the progressive end of electronic music. Aguayo’s third album The Visitor is something a little different. It’s a slight stylistic step away from the techno-rooted sounds of his early work in Cologne as part of production duo’s Zimt and Closer Musik, as well as his first two solo albums released through Kompakt. The Visitor is the first of his albums to be released through his own Cómeme label. The resulting work is a dizzying and daring album that is perhaps the best expression yet of Aguayo’s rhythmic approach.

The Visitor is something of a sonic scrapbook of sounds and styles that Aguayo has picked up from his travels across the world. As the title suggests, it was recorded in cities and studios across the globe with a number of Cómeme affiliates. As such, the record is a culmination of Aguayo’s travels as he recorded in Argentina, Colombia, France and at his own Berlin studio and Cómeme base, The District Union, and features a number of his trusted musical partners including Philipp Gorbachev and Alejandro Paz.

His sounds are characterised by a direct, ultra-rhythmic approach. There is a strong primal thrill to many of the metronomic grooves. Opening track Rrrr features a brilliant kind of onomatopoeic funk as competing animal noises and purrs rub up against a sensual groove, as Aguayo sings “Just make me feel alive” in a fevered voice. It’s an outstanding opening.

The Visitor is the sound of Matias Aguayo casting aside genre shackles. It’s broadly electronic, yet it sounds alive and organic, playful and elastic. The lack of a strong electronic base gives him free rein to express the more theatrical and exuberant side of his character, which he does to glorious effect on the party jam of El Sucu Tucu. The music is a jittery, minimal groove, which allows Aguayo and co to revel in some insane vocal manipulation. You are genuinely left enraptured, wondering where this sort of music comes from. The voice is nagging and insidious; it’s another percussive element rubbing up against the music. There are few musicians who can create their own language, but Matias Aguayo’s constantly changing timbres and inflections defy convention.

Elsewhere, the album has a wonderfully engaging spirit. You constantly sense that Aguayo and his collective of musicians are having a blast. The questing, vaulting creative courses through all the tracks here. Every sound is inventive but nothing is oblique. There remain hooks aplenty, particularly on the percussive, Latin swing of El E Camaràn. There is a lovely contrast between the drum-led percussion of some of the more Latin tracks and the dirty minimal techno grooves that feature on the likes of Una Fiesta Diferente. Combined with Aguayo’s constantly changing voice it captivates.

There’s something incredibly refreshing to Matias Aguayo’s open-minded approach to making music. For him, music is all about expression and collaboration. On The Visitor, he has crystallised those principles into a richly beguiling and inventive work that crosses musical boundaries effortlessly.

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