Cristian Varela

New Electronic Audio Architectures

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Those well acclimated to the thriving European techno scene will tell you that the most up-for-it place on the continent has got to be Spain. So one should definitely look to Christian Varela, the country's most widely regarded techno DJ/producer, for confirmation of those heaping praise. And if Varela's album for Primate is any indication, then you'll want to book your flight today. An incredibly musical take on Primate's funky tribal-techno formula, this record boldly moves across tempos and styles, each track tied together by Varela's instinctual percussion, often recorded live, that is inherently Spanish and never becomes contrived. "La Pinata Contraataca," "Atmospheric Organs," and "Soul Pitches" are all stormers, utilizing endlessly drawn-out noise breakdowns over heavy beats. In contrast, "Chinese Strings" and "Madrid Nights" are lightly textured and heavily melodic, sounding almost like upbeat tour-guide music with beats that are a little too driving for such inane use. But with tracks that could rock Belgium's toughest techno raves and others that could let you sway through warm Iberian nights, Varela holds it down for the Spanish masses.

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