Federico Aubele ‘Amatoria’ (ESL) 4/5

Buenos Aires born guitarist and singer-songwriter Federico Aubele has carved out a career path that reflects the downtempo side of the electronica genre and one that, similar to Gotan Project, takes on board a multitude of influences that range from dub reggae and tango to Mexican bolero, flamenco and bossa nova. Aubele moved to Berlin in 2001 remaining there until recently returning to Buenos Aires, and it was while there and undoubtedly influenced by the dance scene in the city that he released three critically acclaimed 10” singles for ESL. This latest album, the third full length one, is a natural successor to 2004’s ‘Gran Hotel Buenos Aires’. More refined and intimate, but less rootsy than Manu Chao, Aubele focuses on an all original song selection, invariably sharing chorus vocals with the excellent Natalia Clavier. The opener ‘Luna y sol’ typifies the subject matter of intimate love of the album as a whole and has a dub feel throughout. For dancefloor action, one need look no further than ‘Siempre nuevo’, but even here it is more likely to be the chillout section of the evening’s entertainment. It is the combination of laid back vocal delivery and refined beats that permeates proceedings on ‘Otra vez’. Caetano Veloso immediately springs to mind as a possible vocal influence and this is particularly the case on the lovely ‘Te quiero a ti’ with its sensitive vocals and on the minimalist love ballad ‘Hermosa’. One highlight is the gorgeous duet on ‘Sueno mi guitarra’ while ‘Tan cerca’ is a pared down ballad with guitar in background. In general the album is full of catchy, personal songs with melodic hooks and on the Eighteenth Strret Lounge label that the Thievery Corporation are associated with, this should prove to be a winner with several different audiences and bring together world roots and dance music fans.

Tim Stenhouse