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  • Filed under: Review
  • 09/14/2011

Gui Boratto III

Do you like Gui Boratto? If so, then you're going to like III, as the Brazilian producer hasn't modified his musical formulas much on his third album. Granted, Boratto doesn't seem like the sort of artist who would suddenly change course radically. Although his music is often noted for its nostalgic quality and celebrated for its injection of '80s vibrance and color into a minimal techno and microhouse template, it has never been particularly groundbreaking. Boratto prefers evolution to revolution, and that process continues on III.

In that vein, album closer "This Is Not the End" is the obvious successor to Chromophobia's "Beautiful Life" and Take My Breath Away's "No Turning Back." Like those Boratto classics, "This Is Not the End" features an alluring vocal turn from his wife, Luciana Villanova, along with some New Order-esque guitar lines. Yet while "Beautiful Life" and "No Turning Back" were both bombastic dancefloor cuts, "This Is Not the End" is compartively restrained, functioning more as a slice of new wave-influenced techno-pop.

Nevertheless, III does have its fair share of club-ready tunes. First single "The Drill" features thick, muscular synths, distorted melodies, and a stomping beat. It might be the brawniest piece of music Boratto has ever done. "Stems from Hell" is similarly dark, and highlighted by intense crescendos of arpeggiated synths between the song's relatively serene remainder. "Striker," reportedly a leftover from the Take My Breath Away era that was finally completed and included here, is one of the album's most effective cuts, powered by a potent rhythm, pulsing synths, and Boratto's own vocals, which smartly stay out of the way and let the track work its magic. Another highlight is "Flying Practice," a lighter, more trance-inflected tune that offers soaring synths over a simple techno skeleton.

The album's second half is somewhat weaker, although it would be wrongly described as bad. Songs like "Trap" and "Soledad" contain all of the signature Boratto elements, but their pensive nature occasionally give the impression that the producer is noodling about. Similar problems appear on "The Third," a wispy tune with nice guitar tones that nonetheless struggles to walk the line between club track and thoughtful headphone music.

In all, III is a perfectly solid album. It's just that Boratto's repertoire is well-known at this point, which limits the impact that the album can really have. While Chromophobia was a game changer in 2007, III is a pleasant—although occasionally forgettable—listen from a seasoned artist who is playing to his strengths. There's nothing wrong with that, but one can't help but wonder if Boratto has the capacity to produce another landscape-altering effort.

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