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El Guincho has always been attracted to bright colors and garish patterns; his first two albums, Alegranza! and Pop Negro, were buzzing, maximalist free-for-alls in the tradition of Animal Collective and Tropicalía. So when the Spanish musician born Pablo Díaz-Reixa says that his latest album was inspired by a visit to Hiper Asia, a chain of sprawling dollar stores in Madrid that carry beads, baubles, doodads, tchotchkes, trinkets, bric-a-brac, and all manner of climate-warming, air-polluting, late-capitalist gimcrackery, you can guess what pricked his senses so. The rush of all that plastic, all those shiny surfaces; the accidental and tragic beauty of all that useless crap.
El Guincho was way off his album cycle at the time. His last album, Pop Negro, had come out in 2010. In the years since, he ended his contract with Young Turks, left Barcelona for his birthplace, the Canary Islands, to care for his mother, who was dying of lung cancer, and, following her death and a subsequent breakup with his girlfriend, moved to Madrid in search of a new direction. When the epiphany washed over him in those fluorescent-lit aisles, he scrapped the album he had been working on, which he has described as a set of bass-heavy tracks in the Night Slugs vein, and set about translating Hiper Asia's sensational surfeit into song.
The resulting album, the most resolutely electronic work he's done yet, buzzes like an ice-cream headache: His voice is slathered with Melodyne's pitch-correction software, and he sings in strange, sing-song cadences whose melody and rhythm seem less like songwriting than the byproduct of algorithmic processes. His beats bob between the lurching rhythms of the L.A. beat scene, the snap of dancehall and reggaetón, and the shuddering, double-time pulses of jungle and footwork, and his synths recall both Dâm-Funk's fat, augmented chords and Rustie's dynamics-squashing compressors. The way jagged samples are shoehorned into the mix is reminiscent, at times, of the Bomb Squad—or a tropical take on them, anyway, like an MPC that's sticky with mango and mojo. Touch down almost anywhere on the record, and you'll discover details that trigger a hair-raising rush of sensation—brittle 909 snare rolls, crystalline choirs, video-game melodies, and basslines that reach frequencies most indie-electronic fusions never knew existed.
A1 Rotu Seco
A5 De Bugas
A6 Muchos Boys
B1 Parte Virtual
B2 Stena Drillmax
B5 Pelo Rapado
B6 Mis Hits
B7 Zona Wi-Fi
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