Back in the dim wooden floored room. Smoky amber light. Heavy red drapes cover the walls. The old mirror that’s reflected your thousand faces throughout the years, captures your image once again, sitting on the sofa. The deep sound of the bass crawls slowly on the floor, passes between you feet. The soft notes of the guitar and vocals floating on top of it, like black velvet butterflies. Like Absinth.
Patiently crafted over 2 years in his Brooklyn studio, the new Federico Aubele Album, 5, takes you to that room. And you don’t want to leave. You want to dive into that narcotic sway and remain there. Aubele works alone, like a fisherman waiting for the tide, painstakingly, making sure every sound marries the other elements on the track.
“I like working like a painter, by myself, in my atelier. Or like a writer. Technology now a days allows you to be the producer, writer and engineer” says Aubele “It’s an intimate process for me, and I need to respect that intimacy. I can’t work If I have people around, talking. For a lot of people, making music is a social experience, and that’s fine, but it doesn’t work like that for me. The social part for me comes afterwards, when I’m on stage performing with my band, in front of a crowd”.
Aubele’s hunting signature sound, with it’s precise beats, scattered bandoneon samples, nylon string guitar, dark atmospherics and male and female vocal contrast give space this time also to several cinematic tripped out tango infused instrumentals. “I always loved instrumental music. From Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother, to Piazzolla’s album Pulsacion, to Baden Powell’s Afro Sambas to Boards of Canada. It grabs you in a different way than if you have vocals. When there’s no lyrics, a barrier lifts up and the music connects direct with other areas of your subconscious, often with emotions that are hard to put in words”.
The album moves at midnight tempos, with carefully written melodies, both on the songs and on the instrumentals. “The melody is what really catches your attention. It’s like a thread, like a story. I always need the melody. It guides you through the night”. The opening track “Somewhere Else”, features a collaboration by Jazz chanteuse Melody Gardot. Her smoky vocals floating on a slow but heavy beat making a natural contrast with Aubele’s low baritone, sounding like something from another era. Long time collaborator Natalia Clavier also appears on 2 songs, with her dramatic yet crystal clear voice. Mauro Refosco (Atoms for Peace) plays percussion on the slow motion tripped out-latin “Carrousel sin Fin”, and legendary NY jazz saxophonist Ilhan Ersahin plays Blade-Runner-esque lines to an obsessive dub beat on “El Mago”.
As always with Aubele, the combination of elements that would otherwise sound impossible, makes sense, grabbing you and taking you back to that room, somewhere out there in space or in a dream. No one is really sure.