Super Vato, Rebolledo
by Andrew Casillas
Somewhere out there is a room that’s darker than anything in Entertainment 720’s color palette, where aged whiskey and justifiably-priced champagne flow like lava. Where lights exist for the sole purpose of looking cool. A place where shiny shirts are banned in favor of comfortable, tucked-in button downs, and where nothing matters except how deliberately outmoded your hairstyle is. This is the coolest room in the world. And, right now, Super Vato is spinning on the P.A. in an endless loop.
The debut full-length from Xalapa, Mexico’s own Mauricio Rebolledo is a confident, irreverent, and fundamentally funky slice of new world techno. While other producers are equating “progression” with “throwing extra shit on top of my old shit,” Rebolledo, a former industrial designer, is finding reasons to fit disco, funk, synth-wave, rock and roll, and street festival cacophony into the same space. Rebolledo’s approach sacrifices the “globalism via multiplicity” that his mentor, Matías Aguayo, rode to success with 2009’s Ay Ay Ay, instead going for a thematic, more emotive approach. Think more “epic film score” than “battle of the bands.”
Not that Super Vato (which is, quite honestly, the most bad ass album title of the year) isn’t assertive. The album seemingly begins while it's already in progress with the woozy and buoyant “Canivalen.” Amidst its fat percussion, minimal keyboard notes, and boogie sound effects, the track doesn’t seem to go further than having Rebolledo coo about “Antonio’s dance party.” But as the track plays out over the course of five minutes, the beat builds and builds, the pitch of the bass and additional FX gliding in and out of consciousness until there’s no recourse but death. And it ends. So goes Super Vato at its best, where a seemingly endless sound gradually changes until its organic flip into mayhem and raw energy. Hear “Steady Gear Rod Maschine” transition from ice cold synth muzak to high tempo dance floor banger to a syncopated, almost-militant denouement in under six minutes and how “La Pena” blends horror film suspense with hypnotic proto-reggaetón, seemingly under cover of night. “Super Vatos” lifts the organ from Phantom of the Opera with disco beats. The reason? Because Rebolledo fucking can.
If there’s a flaw to Super Vato, it’s the lack of a breakout or out-of-this-world track. Nothing on the level of “A Paw in My Face” or “Love Cry” or “Hyph Mngo” or other recent tracks to escape the beatz ghetto. The closest that Super Vato gets to an ace go-to track is “Corvette Ninja,” which is indeed a highlight amongst highlights. But its “Miami Vice Theme-but-with-balls!” motif isn’t going to set the world on fire. Regardless, the only argument against this record is “why isn’t it more awesome?” Whether you’ve heard enough techno to get excited about Superpitcher cameos or how this stacks up with the Sepulcure LP, or just want something that sounds good out of your car stereo, there’s certainly nothing on the techno scene quite as funky or cool as Super Vato. And there’s very little out there that’s as good. In any genre.