Matias Aguayo Are You Really Lost

Along with Dirk Leyers, Matias Aguayo was part of the short-lived late ’90s German duo Closer Musik. That pairing fused the new wave Kraut-pop of DAF with the more minimal techno coming out of Berlin, creating a form of vocal techno that was at once sublime and austere. In the process, they foreshadowed much of what Kompakt would release over the next five years. Otherwise, little was known about Closer Musik. Are You Really Lost is Matias Aguayo’s long-in-the-making debut album, and if it’s any indication it confirms him as the driving force behind the duo’s velvet-clad sexiness. The album updates the Closer Musik sound with the spare markings of South American tribal drums. Highlight tracks "De Papel” and "Radiotaxi” have no trouble competing with his outstanding cover of Kylie Minogue’s "Slow” that emerged earlier this year. In fact, the entire first half of the album often surpasses much of what Aguayo has assembled in any previous incarnations. Unfortunately, by the time we get to a lacklustre offering like "The Green and the Red,” his distinctive formula begins to suffer from a degree of sameness. That said, the high points of this album heavily outweigh the few lesser moments. (Kompakt)