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Rebolledo – Super Vato review

Since surfacing with a terrific debut EP for Matias Aguayo’s Cómeme imprint in 2009 (the delightfully odd, lo-fi house masterpiece “Guerrero”), Mexican maverick Rebolledo has carved a niche for himself as a producer of weird and wonderful, often stripped-back house music that’s as likely to boast twisted guitars or barely decipherable high-pitched vocals as bowel-bothering basslines and scratchy, almost under-produced percussion. It’s no wonder those who enjoy their house leftfield and experimental have declared him to be a genius.

Given this, it’s perhaps little surprise that this debut album is getting plenty of attention. It expands on his previous peculiar but invigorating releases, offering up a selection of tracks that veer from the raw and brutal to the surprisingly cute and cuddly. While the old trademarks remain – particularly the oddball vocals (occasionally high-pitched and delirious, much like those employed by Mungolian Jet Set man DJ Strangefruit, at other times dark and nightmarish), wonky drums and a mix of both live and programmed percussion – Super Vato sees him travel outside of his comfort zone for the first time.

If bouncy opener “Canivalen” is traditional Rebolledo fare, the same can’t be said for the spiraling synths, brutal bottom end and dub-laden drums of the subdued “Steady Gear Rod Maschine” or kraut-flavoured, Kompakt-ish “Positivisimo”. Or, for that matter, “Aire Calliente”, which opens with two minutes of hypnotic cosmiche synths before developing into a delcious dancefloor murk-out. “Steady Gear Rebo Machine” offers a thrilling, off-kilter excursion – all fuzzy drums, alien synth pulses and freaky background noises – whilst “La Pena”, the first of two collaborations with Comeme boss Matias Aguayo – sounds like sparse South American synth-pop made by a trio of Mexican crackheads after a particularly heavy night out.

Then there’s the joyous muscle car celebration that is “Corvette Ninja”, a kind of acid-flecked electro-disco ride through Mexico City in the company of Patrick Cowley, Giorgio Moroder and a clutch of Italo-disco revivalists. As if all that wasn’t enough, Rebolledo draws proceedings to a close with the sort of raw, loose and cacophonous drum workout (“Te Conozco Moskow”) that will have all but the most conservative listeners joyously reaching for the tequila.

Super Vato is perhaps not the easiest of listens, but then that’s not Rebolledo’s style. He’s much more interested in exploring the possibilities of utilizing lo-fi elements – slack drums, vintage synths and raw vocals, particularly – in a genre full to bursting with slick, overproduced material. As a result, Super Vato is arguably one of the most interesting and exciting house albums in years.

Matt Anniss