Take My Breath Away
Brazilian-born electronic producer Gui Boratto's 2007 album Chromophobia was, along with the Field's From Here We Go Sublime (released the same year), something of a breakout smash for the consistently solid Kompakt label. Where the Field scored smeared, pointillist trance made from micro samples of such pop sources as Lionel Richie and the Flamingos, Gui Boratto hewed closer to Kompakt's traditional minimal techno sound, spraying arpeggiated synth bubbles and squeaks over spare but groovy drum programming. That Chromophobia achieved as high a profile as the more novel Sublime was probably a lucky combination of timing, label momentum, and the fact that it was a simply airtight album.
Take My Breath Away is a far more diffused and permeable record. Most striking is the addition of guitars to some of the album's most memorable tracks—and not just any guitars, but like Factory-preset New Order guitars. The muted guitar melody that emerges out of the wooshing, distorted synths of "No Turning Back" to usher in its just-understated-enough vocals is shades of Bernard Sumner; the melody of "Besides" could easily be a high-on-the-frets (Peter) Hooky bass line.
There are other touchstones, though: The bright, dreamy chords and dissipating drums of "Colors" recalls Solvent's blissful analog synth pop, and "Les Enfants," with its melancholy synths and down-tempo live drums, sounds like a midperiod M83 instrumental (or, for Seattle heads, Sleepy Eyes of Death).
Still, some songs—such as the thumping steam machines "Ballroom" and "Atomic Soda" or the skittering, descending "Eggplant"—recall Boratto's classic, club-ready style. Best of all, though, may be the few numbers—the title track, "Opus 17"—which combine Kompakt's tech pulse with Boratto's newly honed pop moods.