Matias Aguayo and the Desdemonas
- Niki Boyle
- 16 September 2016
Cómeme label boss takes to the stage with his genre-spanning live act
Chilean-born, German-raised Matias Aguayo is perhaps best known for the internationally-flavoured house music he releases on both the Cologne-based Kompakt label and his own Cómeme. It's a party-starting sound beloved of world-focused selectors such as Auntie Flo and Gilles Peterson. He's also a dab hand at creating live tracks with only his voice, a sampler and a selection of effects pedals, building up simple hummed loops into silly-but-infectious dance rhythms.
The Desdemonas, his reasonably new live project (launched in April this year), is a far cry from all that. A four-piece band featuring guitar, drums, synths and Aguayo on vocals and percussion, the overall vibe is a woozy time capsule of reference points filtered through warped and degraded lo-fi technology. At various points in tonight's set you can hear Cure-esque goth-pop and Doors-style psychedelia mixing and swirling with Nine Inch Nails industrialism.
The instruments have a beat-up garage-rock vibe – the drum kit may well have been scraped off a hard shoulder, while Gregorio Gomez's low-tuned guitar sounds like it was dredged out of Robert Rodriguez's dumpster. Aguayo, freed from his turntables, spends the first couple of songs slinking and shimmying around the stage monitors, before retreating behind an instrument of his own invention: the Mona (imagine a keytar designed by Doctor Who in the 60s and you're pretty much there).
Despite these radical analogue departures from his production work, you can still hear elements of Aguayo's day job in the music: most of the set is built around basslines of only two or three notes which loop relentlessly through each track, while Aguayo's forays onto guitar result in pecked out rhythms and fret scratches rather than melodies. It's not necessarily bad-sounding, and Aguayo's hip-swivelling charisma carries the performance a long way, but it's the sort of thing that might wear thin if it isn't tweaked for the release of the Desdemonas' already-recorded album, rumoured to drop next year.