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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Axel Krygier

It was German Muzikmeister Uwe Schmidt's Señor Coconut persona - one of several dozen that he has invented - who led us to our current fascination with Latin electronic/dance/alternative music. And this is to say that we're particularly taken, right now, by the music of a certain multi-instrumental Argentinean named Axel Krygier. To cut to the chase, check out his MySpace page, where he has put up a wealth of good, interesting music and, especially, videos.

Sr. Coconut first hooked us on neo-Latino, or electro-Latino, several years ago with his fabulous covers of Kraftwerk's music. What Schmidt realized is that Latin music and electronic dance music share a reliance on strictly-formulated rhythmic patterns and phrases, called claves in Latin music circles. Cha-cha, mambo, son, rhumba, bossa nova - all Latin styles are structured around distinctive rhythmic patterns. Likewise, electronic dance music is composed largely of repeating loops, which often get repeated and layered on top of each other to create catchy polyrhythms and, in some cases, trance-inducing passages. So, why not apply electronic techniques to Latin claves, sequencing and layering them, too? Schmidt adds to this a variety of other moves, including lots of samples taken from old Latin dance hits and a broad and playful palette of electronic glitches - all those clicks, beeps, buzzing, and other noises that are artifacts of digital and analog circuitry but now, instead of being anathema are warmly embraced.

Axel Krygier is not strictly an electronic musician - and nor, for that matter, is Sr. Coconut, who "plays" his Mac laptop on stage with live musicians - but he is from Latin America and he does work with tango and other Latin rhythms and he indulges in a fair amount of sampling and electronic sound-making. He makes jazz-pop music, we'd call it - a smart mix of traditional and post-modern. Lots of horns and winds and upright bass and standard drums - a great sense of swing. He writes music for films. Like Schmidt and his The Roger Tubesound Ensemble, there is a solid appreciation for - and skill in - pre-electronic music. One of my most favorite pieces of his is "Echale Semilla!," a good remix of which I am glad to include, here:

I only wish I spoke Spanish, even a little, so I could understand more of and about Axel Krygier!

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Santa Rosa, California, United States
Writer, photographer, music fan; father and husband living in northern Calif.