Sultry sounds of South America

Federico Aubele shows us how its done

Keri Carlson

Federico Aubele is known as an electronic artist, but that fact is easy to forget.

The Argentine artist concentrates his first solo record, “Gran Hotel Buenos Aires,” on his Latin folk guitar playing that effortlessly floats through breezy melodies. Along with the airy, sensual voices of female guest singers Sumaia, Gabriela Maiaru and La Susi, Aubele’s songs make you crave lazy sunny days and late-afternoon naps in hammocks.

“Gran Hotel Buenos Aires” most prominently features Aubele’s Latin roots. But the album sounds distinctly new. This comes from the subtle additions of jazz, dub and electronica. The album’s producers, the electronic down-tempo power duo Thievery Corporation, help enhance Aubele’s compositions by filling in spaces with a cool ambience. It gives the album a chill-out lounge atmosphere.

While most electronic artists labeled as “chill” belong in a stuffy upper-Manhattan club with expensive martinis, Aubele’s music maintains a dazzling character. The album is soft and delicate, but intricately textured, so it’s never boring.

Aubele is also thrown into the electronic genre because his album came out on Thievery Corporation’s record label, Eighteenth Street Lounge Music. Aubele’s trip-hop beats and heavy bass give “Gran Hotel Buenos Aires” its distinctiveness. Labeling Aubele as an electronic artist takes away from the true heart of his music.