Matías Aguayo – I Don’t Smoke EP

I Don't Smoke EP,

Kompakt, Chile/Germany

Rating: 70


So, in looking to approach Matias Aguayo’s latest output critically, I narrowed the focus to three possibilities: 1) Matias Aguayo as a continually evolving and chameleonic figure in dance music, 2) the influence of Cómeme, as the atypical, Latin-friendly tech-house label, and 3) Rebolledo, do you have a cigarette? No, I don’t smoke. LOL! Fortunately, there was no need to settle on just one, as there is enough eclecticism on I Don’t Smoke to serve every one of these avenues.

“Dance Machine” starts off the record with the sultry house rhythms of yore, blending all too well with the current state of retromanic, four-to-the-floor dance music, which is now so prevalent on both sides of the pond (see: Miracles Club and Teengirl Fantasy for some less Euro-centric examples). A clang here, a drum machine there, and “Cómeme Riddim” is exactly what its title portends, a measured tribute to that certain Kompakt sub-label. “Niños,” on the other hand, is one of the more off-kilter pieces in the lot and speaks to Aguayo’s penchant for working disparate sounds laterally.

In many ways “I Don’t Smoke” is the quintessential Matias Aguayo track, with the kind of sophisticated, subtly sexual (if somewhat blasé) restraint that has followed him since his days in Closer Musik. The tounge-firmly-in-cheek quality of the track’s sole vocal hook would feel right at home among Cómeme’s ample in-joke repertory (see: Rebolledo’s "Guerrero"). Though seemingly banal in style and execution, its consistently hypnotic simplicity holds well against repeated listenings, equally effective as a stay-at-home headphone number or a comedown for hectic dancefloors.

It’s hard not to see the autochthonous “Kuddle Riddim,” one of two digital bonuses included, as a remnant of the Latin-infused BumBumBox parties that bore the Cómeme label. However, rather than take a ubiquitous sound, namely tribal (or 3ball, depending on whose school you subscribe to), and lend it the typical Matias treatment, it is simply included as a reference rhythm, presumably for less-than-saavy DJs looking to appear exotically au courant. I Don’t Smoke is not so much an EP as it is a couple of solid tracks accompanied by a decent set of DJ tools. Its scattershot character serves as an apt manifestation of an increasingly multifarious producer. There is enough material on here, however, to spark genuine interest in Aguayo’s future ventures. That is, if he ever decides to stop touring.