HiperAsia, El Guincho
Canada/Nacional Records, Spain
by Zé Garcia
If you’re not seeing the entertainment purpose of HiperAsia you might just legit be lacking the proper gear. Dollar store headphones wont give it to you. Smartphone speakers are never in etiquette for a proper musical experience. Not one for product placement, but the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had with HiperAsia have been on my Harman Kardons. Bass is key on HiperAsia, as is the capacity to fully capture El Guincho's polychromatic, schizophrenic pallet. Schizophrenic is ascribed here not in a clinical sense but in the album's fantastic fragmentation. HiperAsia is a hybrid: contradictory & visceral, conflictual & mechanic sonics constantly interrupting developing ideas & melodies. For immediate reference see the gratifying “Stena Drillmax” (breakdancers required for its 90s breakbeat leaning second half). It is followed by the banging (yet brief) “Abdi” (where El Guincho talks about feeling dead inside a bank listening to hardcore) and its continuation: the irresistible ("hey!") “Muchos Boys” which flirts with dancehall before its sonic boom apex. In fact, much of HiperAsia's bass laden eccentricities seem indebted to 21st Century dancehall.
HiperAsia is full of methylphenidate bangers with some minor miscalculations in its built-in hardware. The title track seems like the album’s least essential track, but rewards repeated listens. All of HiperAsia demands (& rewards) repeated listens, if you're into such thrills. And "Pelo Rapado” waxes where “HiperAsia” wanes. On “Pelo Rapado,” El Guincho also postures as a trans-human R&B icon: you can almost picture him lifting his Black leather jacket (onstage) to reveal his abs to a screaming pack of aroused die hards. “Mis Hits” is just as romantic and seductive. Picture Ciara doing her “Ride” routine. Superficially, much of HiperAsia seems cold and disjointed but, "Parte Virtual" is somehow balmy as is the vaporwave breeze of "Pizza." While "Pizza" concerns itself with the modern food staple, the winning "Parte Virtual" provides some particularly downcast (& personally relevant) revelations: "Son muy pocos los que no me fallan / esperaré a ver qué hacen cuando la tormenta pase."
"De Bugas" proves El Guincho is still harnessing the energy of the sun, even if it is 20,016 and he is channeling its power with solar panels. In recent memory Club Fonograma has systematized classifications of the current reggaetón landscape: future and ice age. "De Bugas" is rooted somewhere between bazaar dancehall and future reggaetón, with Shibuya-kei (as the connoisseur Giovanni Guillén points out) overtones. Easily the catchiest track on HiperAsia, "Cómix" is made complete with an appearance by the ever congenial Mala Rodríguez ("si no hay na' pa' cenar me da igual, te tengo a ti y a mi verdad / aunque sea sin pastillas yo quiero ir a bailar") and El Guincho's cheeky yet alluring self assurance: "Siempre me largo con la guapa de la fiesta [...] sé que te molesta ver como no me cuesta."
Sizable portions of HiperAsia seem spontaneous: El Guincho operating on automatic, crafting efficient (if incongruous) electronica indebted to yet another musical form of the African diaspora: R&B (however disfigured). Early releases like the sensuous "Mis Hits" and the autotune heavy "Rotu Seco" proved unmoving to most of Club Fonograma at first. Autotune can often be described as excessive but "Roto Seco" employs it as an integral aspect of its DNA. Remember when El Guincho drew comparisons to Animal Collective? Closing number “Zona Wifi” (subwoofer mandatory) recalls AnCo's energy. But whereas the glory of Animal Collective continues to fade, El Guincho continues to reinvent his brand towards favorable results.