Gustavo Lamas

Brotes

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Stuttgart's Onitor label made a wise move in maintaining its association with Gustavo Lamas, a producer who -- along with Leandro Fresco -- has represented Argentina as another country to make significant contributions to the cluster of German dance labels during the late '90s and early 2000s. Lamas has been one of the least valued of this small but international community, with three prior albums and a handful of 12" releases that stack up with some of the higher-profile producers -- see "Jovenes" in particular, a blissfully epic track off his 2000 12" for Kompakt. Brotes is the most dance-oriented of his albums to date; his like-minded single for Stewart Walker's Persona, released a couple months prior, served as something of a teaser for what's expanded upon here. Rather than falling in with the swarm of single-artist microhouse-based albums released by veteran producers during the year -- Villalobos' Alcachofa, Lawrence's The Absence of Blight, Sami Koivikko's Salmiakki -- Brotes is more an extension of the warm, melodic techno made by the likes of Kenny Larkin and Aril Brikha (or even the 2000-2001 glory days of Force Tracks) albeit with a serene effect that makes it distinguishable from its peers. Lamas remains a minimalist at heart, with a varied array of meaty rhythmic patterns rarely adorned with more than a couple extra percussive effects and deliberately paced keyboard lines. The best moments are the ones with driving tempos, where Lamas seems to have highway hypnosis in mind -- he can shift layers around, piling them up and then plying them apart, with the best of them. None of it could've been made without the inspiration of several precursors, but Lamas never tips his hat too deliberately in any one direction. Ten fully realized tracks, not a duff one in the bunch. If Lamas was considered an accomplished producer before this, he's surely deserving of exceptional status now.

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