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Gui Boratto - Chromophobia

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Artist: Gui Boratto

Album: Chromophobia

Label: Kompakt

Review date: May. 10, 2007

It’s no surprise that Gui Boratto (first name pronounced like "gooey") hails from Sao Paulo, easily the most cosmopolitan and intensely urban megalopolis in Brazil, if not all of South America. Chromophobia, his debut album for the none-more-Teutonic imprint Kompakt, has the glide and rattle of subway cars, the airtight thrust of a blindado two-door winding through a poured-concrete expanse, and certainly the blind-spot surveillance sadly requisite of a strolling, headphone-powered Paulista. It brims with clanging mechanical activity with an eye to random interference.

Opening on "Scene 1," a slow astral drizzle that Boratto morphs into blinking coordinates on a metallic map, shimmers faintly over a brittle, crackling chug. "Mr. Decay" picks up the pace with a close, short bounce like a dribbling basketball as a melody of mushed casiotones coats the skipping beats. Silvery bits and shards rain down in snowglobe swirls over its skittering strut. From here to seventh track, "The Blessing," Boratto's subtly flashes his dancefloor credentials with a solid block of sleek, honed bangers. For these tracks, all seemingly built from the same hunk of titanium (hence the album's title, perhaps), every detail is closely attended to, each contour carefully sculpted. Boratto also allows for tinkling polyrythms and crackling syncopations, which fortify the rustling bump.

After this spell of quaking bass and piston-pump boom, Boratto chills out on mood pieces of no less earbending activity. Here Boratto's advertisement background surfaces, as a diverse procession of vacuum-sealed miniatures are displayed. "Acróstico" is mottled with purring fuzz chomps and sparkles all over with clicks and hiss requisite for most wonder-eyed City Centre Offices laptoppers. Right next to it, "Xilo" has two grave-gray guitars – one jangling single note drones while the other plucks gothy chords – that are met with a Cure-sized floodlight of icy synth foam. Boratto's guitar crops up again on "Beautiful Life," churning along a whip-crack snare, sidereal strobery and warm jet revs that make this a pure shot of electric pop brilliance. Boratto nods to his Kompakt labelmate The Field with the breathless vertigo of "Hera" before closing things with the portentous tick-tock, clockwork flickers and thick, mean laser-beam melody of "The Verdict."

Bright and crisp, the gradient varietals of Chromophobia's 13 crystalline tracks, some gushing with cybernetic ecstasy and others nostalgia-tinted reveries, make it wholly engaging. The energy and clamor of the streets is balanced by the shut-in repose of apartment life.

By Bernardo Rondeau

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