Gui Boratto: Chromophobia

Two songs into Chromophobia, it began to dawn on me Brazilian Gui Boratto has more in common with Booka Shade than the prototypical Kompakt artist. Sure, Boratto's got that precision-tooled Cologne styling down pat but he bolsters it with a melodic finesse and syncopated, Technicolor swing that aligns him closely to Get Physical artists Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier. Simmering with percolating rhythms and restrained emotion, “Mr Decay” and “The Blessing,” for instance, boast the same kind of teasing melodies and roaming bass lines that makes so much of Movements so fabulous. Equally strong, “Terminal” struts with a primal swing, its hook a one-note staccato motif that hammers as insistently as a woodpecker; over the course of the tune's six hypnotic minutes, Boratto artfully weaves lurching techno pulses with fuzzy keyboard interweaves and slow-burning emotive buildups. The spectacular “Beautiful Life” not only churns with as much New Wave as techno fervour but incorporates entrancing vocal chants and even a Peter Hook bass line too. Elsewhere, the cinematic overture “Scene” offers chiming cascades and subtle pulses that evoke Ai Records' sleek tech-house style. On the dreamier tip, the mellifluous “Acrostico” unfurls with a delectable splendour, and, though brief, the becalmed interlude “Mala Strana” charms with a descending piano(!) line that's Satie-like in its simplicity. Some left-field surprises emerge along the way too, like the Sergio Leone guitar twang Boratto slathers over the string-kissed strut of “Xilo.” Chromophobia's quality level never flags despite its 70-minute length, and the album's consistently superior material (the set includes the intricate K2 banger “Gate 7” though not the superb “Like You,” recently heard in a Supermayer mix) testifies to the caliber of Boratto's artistry.

April 2007