Federico Aubele

Federico Aubele, an Argentinean who dubs at the speed of King Sunny Ade, excels in tropicalia; he owes the sound to labelmates Thievery Corporation, the D.C. duo who produced Granhotelbuenosaires. In a strong debut reminiscent of Gotan Project, the Parisian electronic act responsible for popularizing accordion-flavored tango samples, Aubele's songs are downtempo lullabies, smooth and suave, crisp and right on.

Aubele's demos, many of them in revved form here, grabbed the attention of Thievery's Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, who specialize in global chill. Impressed with Aubele's ability to fuse flamenco guitar with dub, they nurtured him, then sent him back into the studio. Aubele rerecorded the tracks, inviting some women friends to do vocals behind walls of dub and space. The result: All kinds of influences and exotic instrumentation -- bossa nova, hip-hop, soundtrack, chill, Middle Eastern, and a line of melodica, conga, horns, and plenty of accordion -- fill in the in-between.

There are enough flamenco guitar riffs to keep the staunchest traditionalist happy, but none more substantive than on "Diario De Viaje," a dub of electronics and synth rhythms that loops the guitar behind atmospherica. Thievery has taken from South America before, mastering bossa nova in its electronic layering. Aubele, however, might be the duo's best import yet.

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Chris Coomey