Matias Aguayo | Ay Ay Ay

Kompakt (2009)
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  November 3, 2009
4.0 4.0 Stars


You know the old saying: you can lead a horse to dance music, but you can’t make it sign up for a Beatport account. Same goes for people — four on the floor just doesn’t click with everyone.

A common hang-up among house haters is the apparent absence of the artist within the electronics. Whether it’s naive or not, there exists an unconsciously defended difference for many between the mark of the maker and the click of the mouse. Accidental purists: prepare to lighten up. Ay Ay Ay, the second full-length effort from Chilean-born, German-raised Matias Aguayo (who now splits time between Buenos Aires and Paris) is, in source and spirit, one of the most human dance-pop records of the year. Even more so than on his stunning 2005 debut, Are You Really Lost?, Aguayo blends a finicky minimalist streak with loads of goofball charm (not unlike new Yacht, or old Beck).

He almost completely jettisons oonst-oonst metrics in favor of long stretches of classy continent-hopping rhythms — “Me Vuelvo Loca” and “Juanita” channel the energy of Aguayo’s battery-powered “bumbumbox” parties in the streets of Buenos Aires (check SoundCloud for those mixes), whereas “Koro Koro” conjures a Lagos lounge. But though Ay Ay Ay benefits from Aguayo’s amply stamped passport, its real appeal is his inescapable personality — some of these songs sound like things he’d hum and tap on an armrest while waiting for a flight. Entire rhythm sections are made from his voice, and its timbre becomes a signature texture of the album instead of amateurish beatbox gimmickry. It’s not just that Aguayo replaces anonymity with idiosyncrasy — Ay Ay Ay is the work of a producer in his prime, and an artist who can barely contain himself.

Related: Tedium and enchantment, Eva Hesse at the ICA and Tory Fair at the deCordova, Brian Zink, Marisa Martino, and Robin Mandel, More more >
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