A relative latecomer to the Kompakt techno world domination party of the '00s, Brazilian producer Gui Boratto scored nicely with Chromophobia, his first full-length for the Cologne label, in 2007. Its best track, "Beautiful Life," was a love anthem of sorts that spring and summer, and the LP featured some other good tunes ("The Blessing," "Shebang," "Mr. Decay") with similarly soaring synths, dramatic melodies, and warm basslines. The follow-up, Take My Breath Away, delivered on at least two big, fat electro-pop cuts ("No Turning Back" and "Atomic Soda"), while the third LP, III, had only a few memorable highlights (the bassy rocker "Stems From Hell" counts as one). One would hope that the new full-length, Abaporu, would see a return to the promise Boratto showed on his debut. The good news is that, yes, it does. The bad news is that in the context of dance music in 2014, it sounds, well, about seven years out of date.
To be fair, Boratto was never a candidate to be a game-changing artist. His tracks blend elements of techno, house, and electro-pop. The productions are clean and bright. There is a misty-eyed sweetness to the best of them, but new ground never really seems to be broken. Phrases in new tracks like "Indigo," and "Take Control" hint at careful listening to New Order (something that was also apparent on previous Boratto releases), while other tracks ("Antropofagia," "Joker") recall Kompakt boss Wolfgang Voigt's infatuation with schaffelfieber (a shuffling, rock-based song structure) during the label's early days.
Abaporu's sweetest tracks might be those with vocals by Luciana Villanova: "Too Late," "Please Don't Take Me Home," and "Wait For Me," on which Boratto's vocals also are featured. The funkiest cuts are the title track and "Get the Party Started," which has Boratto on vocals and guitar. Taken as a whole, Abaporu isn't a bad LP, and for fans of classic Kompakt records by the Modernist, SCSI-9, or even The Field, the album might be exactly what they're looking for. More adventurous listeners, however, are advised to look elsewhere.