Autotel - The Tower

Released: April 25

In his second release this year, Chilean producer Autotel takes heavy inspiration from dance music genres like house and techno, but presents them in some unusual ways. Interestingly, he also integrates a bit of the more traditional styles of music in his home country with very interesting results. I'm not going to pretend I'm well versed in traditional Chilean music, but there were parts that stood out to me very clearly throughout the album. Namely on the track "Chilealainen" in which there were some rhythmic devices that caught my ear at first. Then, as the track continued on, there came a part that just felt melty, for lack of a better word. These very jazzy chords played on the keys come along and the whole track temporarily changes from a somewhat upright dance track to something much more experimental. 

This musical motif is something that appears at various moments throughout the runtime. Even on the track immediately after, "Soundown," there's a lot of the same jazz experimentation with some peculiar choices in percussion. But there's also some tracks that seem to jump far away from the somewhat dance-y rhythms and go far more off-kilter, like "Collapse into the water." While it maintains some kind of rhythm, the sounds are predominately more synthetic and strange. The bassline alone is pretty interesting but he also ties in this pad sound with a heavy shattered reverb on it that runs mostly counter to the rhythm, at time even completely replacing it as the drums temporarily disappear. 

The Tower is an interesting album for a number of reasons. But for me it is the integration of dance music, both traditional and modern, into some otherwise kind of weird soundscapes along with the seemingly quite jazz-inspired part that make this album feel like a lot more than just a collection of dance music. It builds themes and then completely overwrites them, it takes inspiration from long established musical practices, and it doesn't worry too much about sticking to any one technique. It makes for a varied album that might find some place on the dance floor, but for me I'd rather have it in my car for a nighttime drive.   


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