Inspired by his discovery of a bustling Chinese bazaar in the heart of Madrid, Pablo Diaz-Reixa (aka El Guincho) tossed out all the music he had been working on for his third album under that name. Instead, he set to work composing new tracks that captured the feel of the bazaar, all the exotic colors and flavors set to music. Hiperasia is the result and it's a departure from previous El Guincho albums.
In the late 2000s, Pablo Diaz-Reixa built a strong reputation for El Guincho, his gleeful, manic musical project that released two strong albums in the second half of the decade. While often credited for being a midpoint between the psychedelic electronics of mid-’00s Animal Collective and the subsequent rise of chillwave artists like Neon Indian and Toro Y Moi, his music primarily stood out for its deliriously carefree attitude. Diaz-Reixa left a strong impression then promptly vanished, with many wondering where he went.
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.
Hiperasia is the product of two life-changing moments for Pablo Díaz-Reixa. The first was when he visited the Hiper Asia chain of Chinese bazaars in his hometown of Madrid, after which he scrapped all of the songs he was working on and set to work trying to sonically recreate their unique atmosphere instead. The second was collaborating with Björk on Biophilia, which taught Díaz-Reixa that an album could be more than just a CD: Hiperasia comes billed as a “wearable”, with various sportswear items available embedded with microchips hosting additional content.
Album número tres from astro-exotica producer Pablo Díaz-Reixa plays like a radio shuffling through stations. Hiperasia – named after a string of Chinese discount shops in Madrid – is an associative, jazz-like journey, studded with cyber-tropical percussion and autotuned robo-Spanish vocals, and manages to be both brusque and twitchily playful. A drummer at heart, El Guincho again turns to his fixation with repetition, building each track around their calypso loops and illuminating them with gaudy, fluorescent synth stabs, guided by some closely guarded tempo that’s sometimes difficult to tap into.
If last month was teeming with a strong assortment of bouncy electro pop, then this one was chock-full of indie rock releases. Carl wasn't too impressed with most of these month's rock-oriented offerings, including Wolfmother's brazen return, while Juan was somewhat disappointed with those that ….