Ay Ay Ay

03.11.09 Words by: Charlie Jones

In this period of musical borrowing, encountering something that you have never heard before is pretty rare. These days, to be considered TRULY original would probably have to involve a choir of falsetto-singing farmyard animals performing on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’… or something. Let’s face it, until that happens we will just have to settle for Matias Aguayo’s ‘Ay Ay Ay’ on Kompakt – a record that seriously pushes the boundaries laid by any other techno artist (or dance producer for that matter) today.

Originally from Chile, Matias Aguayo came of age as a DJ and producer during the 90s living in Cologne where he joined up with Michael Mayer to produce under the moniker Kimt and later with Dirk Leyers as Closer Musik. He landed his debut album ‘Are You Really Lost’ in 2005, recently launched his label Coméme with Gary Pimiento and last year provided us with (pretty much the Latino version of Gimme Some More minus the spittin’) Minimal; an aptly named tune amorously remixed by DJ Koze in summer 2008 at the height of the ongoing minimal techno identity crisis (“Cos that music’s got no groove, got no balls… Pumping, Pumping, Pumping”).

Coming three months after Kompakt’s inconsistent ‘Total 10’ release, which bundled moments of techno perfection with those of jarring obscurity, ‘Ay Ay Ay’ opts for the experimental path laid down by recent ‘Total’ mixes. Though, this time, instead of occasionally baffling, ‘Ay Ay Ay’ consistently pleases; neatly tying together rustic Latino rhythms, warm bassy grooves, without forgetting the occasional snug wrapping of a 4X4 blanket.

The album’s most impressive feature is Aguayo’s alchemistic use of voice. He doesn’t so much sing as flood the record with vocal rounds, cut-up samples and Arthur Russell echoes to create really inventive melodies. In opener Menta Latte, Aguayo’s lips, mouth and tongue work as the only instruments (except for a xylophone) by way of whistles, chatter and various beat boxing techniques stirred together in a cauldron of bass, percussion and melodies. The effect is hallucinogenic, unsettling, some sort of bombastic séance in the depths of a feral jungle. This tone runs throughout the record. Ritmo Tres picks up where the previous trip finishes but is smoother. Reduced down and tech-y, it provides a downbeat, moonlit take on Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat sounds of the 70s.

It is clear from the outset that this is not outright techno – not in a traditional way anyway – but more like some sort of funky/tribal hybrid. It is minimal in the sense it is stripped down but there is nothing soulless about it and where it is dark, as with Ay Shit – The Master, it is upfront, playful and arrogantly sexy to the scale of Country Grammar . On Koro Koro there are even definite hints of ‘Graceland’. This is inventive stuff, really difficult to pin down. So don’t try to then… Just enjoy the fact that it is PRETTY original.

To hear more about why this album sounds like a South American street party read about his label Coméme

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