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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
El Guincho
Alegranza
Discoteca Océano/XL

Rating: 9/10 ?


October 13, 2008
Dance music is so often "dance" music in name only. Can you imagine anyone really busting a move while listening to, say, The Field's (admittedly brilliant) From Here We Go Sublime? Or anything that Autechre has released? While IDM and glitch-pop and all of the endless variations of dance music that usually involve one work-horse dude and his gadgets/laptop serve their purpose (deconstructing and reimagining rhythm and melody with almost scientific precision), you're certainly not going to throw on Four Tet's Pause to get a crowd moving, no matter how much you love that record (I do, actually love that record).

El Guincho's Alegranza is quite the opposite. Festooned with sheer joy and lively, almost tribal drumbeats, classifying Alegranza as "dance-music" seems almost counterintuitive at first, but after closer consideration the album really fits that definition better than say, half of what Aphex Twin has released. Not to decry Aphex Twin, but when the looping and joyous cries of "Palmitos Park" kick in, with the one man band that is El Guincho (Pablo Díaz-Reixa, if you have to name names) manning the boards, it's hard not to imagine a group of people really getting down. Perhaps the distinction is in what one would imagine a dance party to be: I can't picture a bunch of glow-stick waving ravers dancing to this (not that they wouldn't, I mean, why not right?), but it seems perfect for a Latin wedding. Guests in nice clothes celebrating something born of sheer happiness, panting at the bar during breaks, only to find themselves back on the floor shaking it to the next the group of looping beats and percussion and unifying sing-alongs...

Whether it be "Kalise" or "Costa Paraiso," it doesn't matter: the beats, which sound almost in line with some of the more organic-sounding beats on M.I.A.'s Kala, just sound danceable. In a way that most electronic music doesn't. Alegranza sounds like it could just as easily be the product of a band working up grooves as it could be a man with a computer and drum machines.

Since I'm not Spanish speaking, I'll not even attempt to dissect the proverbial meanings of songs, or the lyrical skills with which they were penned. The language barrier may keep me from understanding the content of lyrics (although it sounds carefree, almost like things that sounded good being shout out while in the ecstatic joy of the creative process), but I like to think I'm still just as able to see the full flower of these songs over the course of 2 or 4 or 5 minutes. With layer upon layer of flamenco-inflected guitar lines and overpowering drum beats stacked up El Guincho creates something truly entertaining, whether you're dancing along or not.

This record has been compared to Panda Bear's mini-masterpiece Person Pitch, and while there are similarities (one man electronic solo records that don't sound electronic, between albums from their main bands: El Guincho's Coconut to Panda Bear's Animal Collective), this album has a different mentality. It's fun and light, and even though for all I know he could be singing about the destruction of mankind, it is bursting with joy and happiness. And for once, you can actually dance to a dance record. Seems like a win/win for everyone.

Reviewed by Cory Tendering
No biographical information is currently available.

See other reviews by Cory Tendering

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