Personnel: Maria Ayo, Ariadna Chevalley (vocals).
Audio Mixers: Pablo Diaz-Reixa; Brian Hernández.
Recording information: Bad Company; El Green; Q Studios.
Photographer: Adrià Cañameras.
Arrangers: Pablo Diaz-Reixa; Brian Hernández.
Inspired by his discovery of a bustling Chinese bazaar in the heart of Madrid, Pablo Diaz-Reixa (aka El Guincho) tossed out all the music he had been working on for his third album under that name. Instead, he set to work composing new tracks that captured the feel of the bazaar, all the exotic colors and flavors set to music. Hiperasia is the result and it's a departure from previous El Guincho albums. Far less built around samples of African and Latin music and more focused on sleek R&B beats and textures, it's still plenty weird and fascinating. Diaz-Reixa's take on R&B is off-center and warped, with lopsided midtempo beats, chopped-up vocal samples that dart in and out of the mix unpredictably, and shards of synths that slice through the speakers like machetes. Despite the off-kilter sonic trappings, at its core Hiperasia is the strongest set of songs Diaz-Reixa has delivered yet. The strutting "Comix" has an unstoppable vocal hook and a stellar guest spot from vocalist Mala Rodríguez, "Stena Drillmax"'s flat-tire bumpy beats can't disguise the flowing vocal melodies, "Mis Hits" is a straight-up crooked-beat jam, and most of the rest of the album sounds like what would happen if you put Ginuwine and Four Tet into a blender and hit the purée setting. Diaz-Reixa's vocals are entrancing throughout, and the constant use of Auto-Tune to distort and stretch them proves to be a solid artistic choice instead of the annoying distraction it could have been in less skilled hands. The broken machine voices mesh perfectly with the mutilated R&B, giving the album an otherworldly yet firmly rooted in the modern world feel. This is definitely the album where he leaves the Panda Bear comparisons behind once and for all. By connecting with the street culture of Madrid, embracing the modern sheen of R&B then mangling it until it transforms into something familiar but new, and basically dropping a batch of songs that are destined to stick like glue in the heads of anyone lucky enough to hear them, Diaz-Reixa has come fully into his own on Hiperasia. Anyone who was into previous El Guincho albums will be satisfied by the new direction he's taken, and who knows, some R&B fans with an adventurous nature may even find his sound to be something worth checking out. ~ Tim Sendra