Friday, February 15, 2008
Chromophobia - Gui Boratto
SCQ Rating: 72%
2007 will quite likely be remembered as a banner year for dance records, with several managing to crossover into the inner circle of indie-rock for all the kids who sought a beat more potent than ‘Sound of Silver’. No foul on LCD – that album is worthy of all its acclaim – but its songwriting remained very much indebted to Mr. Murphy’s decade-spanning vinyl collection, and for those in need of hypnotic grooves for the dance-purist, chances are Kompact delivered them. The Field’s ‘From Here We Go Sublime’ stole the limelight and introduced the Kompact roster to an entirely new audience, but second prize had to go to Gui Boratto, the dark horse, for this set of 13 electronic compositions which seem entirely unafraid of being colorful.
‘Scene 1’ scores an uplifting soundtrack in the vein of Ulrich Schnauss before delving suddenly into ominous synth-work. From that atmospheric opener, the Brazilian follows with several minimal house tracks which succeed in moving you physically, if not emotionally. While this is primed for the dancefloor, Boratto gives plenty for the home-listening headphone crowd. Take the high-speed ‘Gate 4’, which at the 3min20sec mark, begins to decompose; its melody literally melting over the keyboard before re-compiling itself. That Gui makes his living as an architect should come as no surprise when witnessing the detail of these songs; his focus on texturing tones and crafting full-bodied melodies from unassuming loops is half the fun of listening in.
At over seventy minutes, Chromophobia stretches itself too thin by the first five song mark, which is frustrating when the album’s best material crowds the back end. ‘Terminal’ feels unfinished next to its running-mates, while ‘Shebang’ sounds like it was meant for a late nineties trance record. Starting fresh with ‘Mala Strana’ – another atmospheric place-holder which manages to act as an intermission before the second act – the record kicks into high gear, warming us into pastoral electronica with ‘Acrostico’, then introducing some guitar for the dangerous pulse of ‘Xilo’. By the time we reach songs like ‘Beautiful Life’ (the only track featuring vocals and a fav among the blogger-community) and the chaotic but lovely ‘Hera’, our ears are nearly exhausted.
The down-tempo closing number, curiously titled ‘The Verdict’, actually succeeds by allowing reflection-time on the album’s highs and lows. Despite Boratto’s obvious talent and several memorable moments, the few out-of-place tracks make Chromophobia play out like a compilation; more fun to navigate and find favourites than to hear beginning through end.