Smart Bar; Fri 11, 10pm.
The usual excuses that surface from lazy listeners when confronted with today’s minimal techno are clichés in and of themselves: It’s repetitive, it lacks melody, it’s boring, yadda, yadda. Sorry, folks, none of the above are fair assertions about what’s happening in techno these days. In the hands of Gui Boratto, in particular, the naysayers and know-nothings are going to need some new gripes, as the old ones don’t apply. Or maybe they can actually listen to the stuff.
The Brazilian producer/DJ infuses Chromophobia, his full-length debut for the Kompakt label from 2007, with indelible melodies, vivid compositions and organically structured tracks that never stay in one place long enough to resemble static dance fare. Paradoxically, Chromophobia is both detailed and spacious—“Acrostico” has room for atmospheric moments. But the album also includes a driving, dense pop number, “Beautiful Life” (with new wave vocals, no less). Minimalist loyalists might fret that this isn’t dance DJ material, but on tracks like “Shebang” and “Terminal,” the rhythms are there and they’re dynamic.
As pop as his compositions can be, Boratto hasn’t ditched us on the way to the DJ booth—the percussion cloudbursts of “Hera” and the counter-rhythmic “Terminal” coalesce into functional body-movers. Whether he’s delivering a live set—as he did two weeks ago in Miami—or just digging into the trove of new music that’s surfaced from the undertow of the minimal wave, he’s still quite comfortable maintaining a balance among melody, textures and club kick that’ll get us through the night, even if we haven’t left the pad.