This is Matias Aguayo backstage at The Loft, shortly before playing the Lolita room last weekend. Poor guy's jaw was swollen like a motherfucker, due to a tooth infection — you could actually track the swelling's progress between dinner and sound check. Aguayo and his partner, Roccness, must have been fairly cursed that night. First a sampler failed to work, and then after that was (mostly) fixed, one of the cables to the speakers kept failing, leaving odd pockets of asymmetrical sound, with only the left-hand side playing.
Still, they pulled it off with aplomb, recreating the sullen grooves from their phenomenal album Are You Really Lost, and throwing in plenty of new kinks and knots for a true live performance. Aguayo didn't flinch — the painkillers must have kicked in — as he whispered and croaked and crooned. Dude's voice is versatile — why aren't more people inviting him for guest vocals? And Roccness' parts emphasized the sultry undertones of the songs, weaving them together like waterlogged thread and wringing out drops of supersaturated harmonics. Their set was already tighter than it had been at a Cologne warehouse party not two months ago (though I'm not sure Aguayo needed the cowbell — the Rapture's pretty much got that technique on lockdown). If they play near you, see them. In the meantime, buy the album; hands down it's one of my favorites of the year, and definitely in my top five. Some folks on ILM can't get with it, but I maintain that it's one of Kompakt's strongest releases in years — dark, brooding, minimal (yet stuffed full of fuzzy details), totally coherent in mood, catchy as fuck, hypnotic. No, it's not Closer Musik 2.0, but it's at least as good, if for (at times) different reasons. "Drums & Feathers" alone is one of the year's best tracks. Kompakt, are you listening? We want remixes! From Wighnomys, Trentemoeller, AM/PM, Isolée, Pantytec, Alex Smoke! Eulberg! Luciano! Villalobos! Call them! Dance floors will thank you!