Federico Aubele, Gran Hotel Buenos Aires


One of the special joys of falling in love with a new album is sharing it with other like-minded music fans. But playing it to others doesn’t always provoke the same response in them as it did in you. We all have different ears and taste, which is a good thing. Not everyone likes the same thing. Usually….

But this wonderful debut album by the Argentine guitarist Federico Aubele is a genuine exception to that rule. Every time I have played this CD at home or in my music store in Cape Town, it has elicited the same instantaneous responses, like: “What is this?” and “I have to have it!”.The album transcends musical borders and brings music fans together to celebrate a truly universal piece of music.

At the age of 11, a friend of Federico’s convinced him that they should become a couple of Beatles, so he started playing guitar. His friend eventually lost interest, but Aubele was infected by the music bug. From there he delved into music in all forms and became an avid vinyl purchaser, listening to everything from the Ramones to Mozart to Jimmy Smith and Tom Jobim. In time, he discovered the Argentinean tango composer Astor Piazzolla. The young guitarist became transfixed with the music of Piazzolla, even as he listened to the cool lounge sounds of the Thievery Corporation and Six Degrees label.

Clearly deeply influenced by not only Piazolla, but also the rich, sensual, musical magic of his formative Latin and flamenco styles, Federico looked to the established production talents of none other than the Thievery Corporation to find the winning contemporary mix he desired. He incorporated all of his favorite musical styles and influences together for an exceptional album entitled Gran Hotel Buenos Aires.

Collaborating with the Thievery Corporation resulted in the delicate melding of Aubele’s lovely songs and evocative acoustic guitar talents, with elements of dub, ambient and soft-reggae grooves and plenty of enchanting female vocals (all in Spanish) and harmonies. It’s no surprise that this collaboration turned Gran Hotel Buenos Aires into the beautiful trip through a modern South American musical landscape that it undoubtedly is.

Although there are some stand-out tracks on the album, like the seductively-addictive ‘Ante Tus Ojos’, one must enjoy Gran Hotel Buenos Aires as a whole album experience — as a modern chill-out Latino music expedition, and definitely as soon as possible.

Stephen Segerman
Sugar Music