EL GUINCHO TOUR DATES:
- SYDNEY: Wednesday February 15 @ Oxford Art Factory with special guest Donny Benet. Tickets on sale now.
- MELBOURNE: Thursday February 16 @ Howler with special guests Sui Zhen + NO ZU DJs. Tickets on sale now.
- MELBOURNE: Friday February 17 @ NGV Friday Nights. Tickets & info available from NGV.
- PERTH: Saturday February 18 @ Perth Festival with Skinnyfish Sound System. Tickets on sale now.
A favourite with Australian audiences, El Guincho has transformed huge crowds into ecstatic tropical dance parties at Meredith Music Festival and Laneway. Emerging from a five year break, Canary Islands-born Pablo Díaz-Reixa — or El Guincho, as he is known and loved — shared a new album, HiperAsia, earlier this year.
Released locally via Mistletone, HiperAsia is another enormous musical leap for El Guincho, inspired by a chain of Chinese bazaars in the outskirts of Madrid where Pablo now lives, having written, recorded and produced the album in studios and spaces throughout Spain; in the Canary Islands, Barcelona and finally Madrid, in a chaotic period for Southern Europe. The music that has emerged is immediately disconcerting; prickly, bright and uncompromising and demanding, it has resonated with a whole new audience of El Guincho fans.
Ever the innovator, El Guincho is reinventing music distribution, having launched his HiperAsia collection with wearable tech which comes with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology and an animated Vaporwave short film. El Guincho changed the face of music videos with his viral hit “Bombay” (over 2.3 million hits), which echoes in his wild new videos for “Comix” and “Pizza” (see bel0w). He has recently been nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video for “Comix”.
- “El Guincho’s most resolutely electronic work yet, Hiperasia buzzes like an ice-cream headache (and) reaches frequencies most indie-electronic fusions never knew existed” – PITCHFORK
- “A vivid, feverish soundworld of Auto-Tuned vocals, idyllic electronics and machine beats solid enough to stand alongside the best US R&B currently has to offer” – THE WIRE
Pablo writes about HiperAsia:
“HiperAsia is a chain of enormous chinese bazaars in the outskirts of Madrid. My engineer took me to one of them when buying tools to build our new studio, back in february 2k15. I fell in love with the building and their products, sui generis takes on western brands, often more interesting than the originals. It was a good starting point for the record. I thought: how could I translate this whole business structure into sound aesthetics, a mixing concept, a song idea, etc. For sound I used the experience of walking around the corridors as inspiration. HiperAsia is an industrial plant with high ceilings, packed with so much stuff there’s actually way less echo than you´d imagine. Illumination isn’t very sophisticated either, which brings out the truth of the objects in an aggressive manner. So, I would use no reverbs, no echoes, reduce bit depth of sounds and use distortion as a way to separate the elements. For the mix I used their product placement, Unexpected, undivided, packed with data, and the customers walking around and experiencing it. The individual would be the mono signal, keep it simple, naïve, almost no effects, a little beat on the 808 or a bass line and some vocals, that’s it. I’d use the stereo to corrupt that and constantly renew the way you listen to the song. Breaks, other song ideas that pop in and out, abrupt silences, vocal processing as a way to separate thoughts, etc. And for song ideas I used their fake brands, their ability to create something fresh out of a very specific interpretation of an existing item. Songs would be my foreign takes on genres I’m not familiar with or usually dislike. Tv news music goth intro + synth gospel on ‘Abdi’, 8bit wavy confessional hh finesse + jazz fusion keys on ‘Rotu Seco’, purpleized neo soul imaginary pizza chain song wrote by a coke addict creative director on ‘Pizza’. I would write these genres down on a texted file and record songs to match those descriptions, keeping it as analytical yet innocent as possible. Whether I succeeded or not, this is the record I’ve enjoyed the most writing, recording and producing. Hope u feel it too” – Pablo Díaz-Reixa, 2016
Below, watch a trailer for HiperAsia, The Animated Lyrical Adventure directed by Manson:
What is Hiperasia? Hiperasia is a chain of Chinese bazaars in Madrid and its outskirts. In the words of Pablo Díaz-Reixa: “I discovered them on a trip with Brian Hernandez (El Guincho’s sound engineer), we were looking for a whiteboard for the studio back in February of 2014. I was blown away, entirely fascinated by the place. After that I discarded almost all the material I had composed and started from scratch with the premise: how would that place sound if it were music?”
And so Hiperasia is, too, the highly anticipated third album of El Guincho, marking the return of one of Spain’s most noted producers after achieving international recognition with his first album Alegranza (2007) and his sophomore mega hit Pop Negro (2010). “I started Pop Negro in 2008….. I’ve even forgotten some of the lyrics! Things have happened to me since that record which have left more of a mark on me than that album….. everything I record gets released, and it’s been that way since I was young; I’m lucky of course, but it also enslaves you”. The immediate impression on the listener to Hiperasia is its abrupt, almost violent, enhanced, futuristic sound. ¨I thought of making music that pushes itself. I like music that seems to move inwards, from its sides towards its own centre. As if it were actively trying to become mono but some force, which is usually something prominent like a 808 or a voice, expands to push those sounds sideways¨. Thus from a simple song based around one or two ideas, you will find intrusions – “Tutti frutti”, as Pablo explains: “We can throw bombs in, firecrackers – sounds, other songs which poke through for a moment…. whatever you want”.
Though there are skeletons and scraps of songs recorded in Gran Canaria, Diaz-Reixa’s home island, during the recording of web-only El Guincho release, “Trances”, in 2012, and time spent in La Floresta in the outskirts of Barcelona during 2013, Hiperasia was mostly written and recorded at El Green, between February 2014 and June 2015, a studio that Pablo and Brian (Hernández, engineer, sound technician and right hand man to the project), pulled together with their own hands (including electrical circuitry) in an empty storage space above Everlasting Records in Madrid.
“It was a scruffy space but I felt potential, working with natural light. Brian and I put it together – we brought the recording equipment to the space, cabled it up, installed a mini golf. We call it El Green”.
“Hiperasia is Madrid in macro. Las Tablas, China City, the M-30, Dalian Wanda Group, the Edificio España. It means me adapting to a new and exotic way of life. Experiencing more the city, spending more time in its streets, an experience much less private than Barcelona¨.
Discussing the radically different lyrical content of Hiperasia, Pablo examines the function of the words in his music.
“I always use lyrics tactically. When you’re making pop music, you usually try to convey yearning. So in Pop Negro I was aiming for common ground, unrequited feelings, situations which are within the possibilities of your imagination…. ideas which fix the listener’s ear on the music. And so the kinds of rhyme used, the structure of the syllables, the very length of the words used – all these things tend to define the genre. Hiperasia is something else; the texts denote a different kind of person, a worse kind – more like the person I really am; destructive desires, individualism, a disdain for my very profession. Even in moments of defeat like Rotu Seco or Pelo Rapado, there’s a brashness, an absence of affectation. I wanted to create a distance, which is there in the production of the voice. The works which move me most include this breach; a hole which you have to complete and which makes you active, a participant, as the listener”.
As far as the references to markets, production processes and capitalism go, “I’m not fascinated by or judging these themes. It’s more the sounds that inspire me – the noises of the stock exchange, the panelled walls, the wood floor, short, abrupt sounds, the music of money…. there are some field recordings included in tracks like Muchos Boys, or Hiperasia”.
Discussing the mixing process , Pablo goes deeper: “Brian and I mixed this together, right hand to left, face to face. In a mix you’re always orbiting an abstract idea which you can never quite attain. And to that you have to add your perception of yourself and your own music – which you must discard and attempt to approach as if unaware, your own incomplete ability with the tools, mad fan input from your record label…..but the focus was clear. We tried to create the style of the record in the mixing process. They are far less classical mixes than Pop Negro, less stereo, less three dimensional…. I got tired of that sound, I feel it softens the listener’s ear, makes her lazy. I like to find depth in another way, through parameters of compression, different types and ranges of distortion. So we didn’t use long effects, there’s barely reverb, just variation in delay times and saturation. You create an illusion of sincerity by different means. It’s tricky putting things so up there, so in your face but if you get it right, it freshens the music”.
THE HIPERASIA COLLECTION
El Guincho has conceived a collection of wearable items that give unique access to the Hiperasia universe.
Hiperasia is a virtual world, the universe behind El Guincho’s new album.
Hiperasia is a unique place, accessible only to those who possess a piece of the collection.
Hiperasia is conceived as a wearable item; an initial collection of wristbands and sweatshirts will connect its users to a secret universe with exclusive content hosted specially for fans.
By simply placing a mobile phone close to the NFC chip integrated in these items the user is directed to a secret website where, through a user and password, they will discover a unique universe with ever changing content like extra songs, video premiers and other details that will be unveiled gradually.
The Hiperasia Collection is born from the collaboration of El Guincho with creative duo from Madrid: Wellness.
Pablo explains this need for releasing a new format:
¨I started turning this idea over in my head after collaborating with Björk on Biophilia. It wasn’t just the format, I was thinking about understanding records as evolving projects, rather than as fixed capsules of a moment. You work for two or three years on something that you then imprison on a 16 bit CD, so you kill off a third of the data. Why do that? It’s cheap. The format explains the music it carries too, so it has to be equally exciting.
I’d been thinking about a chip that would direct the user to some kind of mutant version of the project, a richer and more intricate reality. This virtual space would be a sort of sub scenario where projects would exist only there, alternate versions of the songs – sometimes better than the originals -, 3D interactions, videos, a tv channel, etc. All this can be overwhelming so I felt the necessity of taking that experience to a more common, everyday experience.
It was then that the question hit me; what is the most intimate and inventive action that we share with everyone on a day to day basis? The gesture. It is essential to our identity, it’s loaded with symbolism, it generates questions and excites us. We don’t carry cassette tapes or CDs a friend burned for us anymore, we carry our cellphones. so the gesture had to be related to the mobile phone. Nowadays we can observe two popular…. and slightly annoying….gestures with the cellphone; the first one, when we take a picture, we are projecting the gesture outwards, towards the world. And secondly, the selfie, where we push the phone so far away we’ve come to the point of acquiring and carrying around long, ugly sticks that are annoying to carry. So I was attracted to an opposite gesture then, one that would generate that magical interaction bringing it closer to the body and linking it to the other great way we project ourselves socially; through fashion.
I met Wellness through Yago Castromil and Adriá Cañameras. When Adriá explained the idea to Yago he said “I’ve got your allies”. We met up, they showed me their “Salud” and “Image Identity Program” collections, and I knew. Andy and Mou get it – they get the codes, they’re awake, they understand texture, they were completely motivated by the project from the word go. Along with Yago and Toni Porteiro, they’re the most inspiring people I’ve met in Madrid.
HIPERASIA TRACK LISTING:
1. Rotu Seco
2. Cómix feat. Mala Rodríguez
5. De Bugas
6. Parte Virtual
7. Stena Drillmax
9. Muchos Boys
11. Pelo Rapado
12. Mis Hits
13. Zona Wi-Fi