Argentinian songwriter Federico Aubele was discovered by Thievery Corporation, leaders of the Eighteenth Street Lounge label, when Aubele boldly gave them his demo at a party. An impressive debut (Gran Hotel Buenos Aires) and countless appearances on chill-out compilations and movie soundtracks followed soon. Aubele traveled the whole world, and being a constant foreigner "made him long for Buenos Aires and the Americas as a whole", giving birth to his equally impressive follow-up Panamericana.
The Panamericana is the 25,000 km long highway system connecting all North and South American countries. In that respect, the album's title is well-chosen: Aubele unites influences from all over the continent (tango, bolero, dub, mariachi,...) in a lounge/triphop setting. His melancholic, multi-layered songs remind me very much of compatriots Gotan Project, with the atmosphere similar to that of the self-titled Gorillaz debut. A unique blend, in all aspects. The album features a lot of likeminded guests -Amparanoia, Calexico, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs- and is produced by, of course, Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation.
The vocals on Panamericana attract a lot of attention: smooth warm echoes sing longingly about escapism, lost love, and old emotional songs. "Lluvia", carried by a great guitar melody and sung by the angel voice of Natalie Clavier, has beautiful lyrics about a rainy day. The intimate "Pena" starts with a cracking old record, Aubeles acoustic guitar and soft conga percussion. "Este Momento" features Colombian vocalist Vernie Varela, a great 'lalala' chorus and cool sound effects. Sounds great, right? My only point of criticism is that all songs are very similar, but who would notice that when you're chilling out in the sun? Panamericana hits the stores in May!
Federico Aubele - Lluvia