El Guincho's treadmill sampladelia | Bleader

El Guincho's treadmill sampladelia

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Tuesday night El Guincho (aka Pablo Diaz-Reixa of Barcelona, Spain) makes his Chicago debut at the Empty Bottle--he was originally scheduled to perform at Pitchfork this past summer but canceled due to "personal issues." His debut album, Alegranza, was recently released internationally on XL/Young Turks, but even though I first heard it many months ago I'm still not sure what the big deal is.

Using a basic Akai MPC, Diaz-Reixa crafts clattery, propulsive assemblages from terse looped samples of international sounds, then sings a simple melody on top. He's not a particularly gripping vocalist, and his melodies often sound derivative of whatever sample he's riffing over--a driving guitar lick from Kenyan soukous band Super Mazembe, for instance, or hooks from Los Gofiones, a pop band from the Canary Islands, where Diaz-Reixa was born.

Taken in small doses the music is occasionally pretty infectious--I especially like the bits where he pours on the tropical vibes or hijacks some Pakistani qawwali with amped-up hand claps--but over the course of the album his MO gets tedious. The songs rarely go anywhere, and even when Diaz-Reixa sings both a verse and a chorus, he doesn't bother crafting different instrumental sections to complement them. I actually think he's hit upon something worthwhile here, but he hasn't learned to make the most of it--when he teaches himself to write real songs instead of relying so heavily on repetition, he'll be a lot closer to realizing his potential.

Today's playlist:

Brian Eno, Before and After Science (Astralwerks)
Elephant9, Dodovoodoo (Rune Grammofon)
Fredrik Nordström Quintet, Live in Coimbra (Clean Feed)
Robert Forster, The Evangelist (Yep Roc)
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Real Emotional Trash (Matador)

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