Ten Questions with Nicolay

Apricot Rail
Darcy James Argue
Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi
Félicia Atkinson
Atom TM
Black Jazz Consortium
Borghi and Teager
Kate Carr
Jace Clayton
Nicholas Cords
Cosmin TRG
Benjamin Damage
T. Dimuzio / Voice of Eye
Field Rotation
Stefan Goldmann
Good Luck Mr. Gorsky
Darren Harper
Chihei Hatakeyama
Jerusalem In My Heart
Marsen Jules
Philippe Lamy
Mary Lattimore
Linear Bells
Jay-Dea López
Andrew McPherson
Markus Mehr
Fabio Orsi & pimmon
Simian Mobile Disco
Colin Stetson
The Third Man
Simon Whetham

Compilations / Mixes
Art Department
Balance presents jozif
+FE Music: The Reworks
Ruede Hagelstein
Inscriptions Vol. 2
Rebel Rave 3
Your Victorian Breasts

EPs / Cassettes / Singles
Broken Chip
City of Satellites
Yann Novak
Simon Whetham

Garnica: Fool Again
Galaktika Records

Rafael Garnica has established reputation as a DJ, radio host, and music producer, but his first love remains drumming: he broke into the music business as a drummer touring with bands and today helms the drum chair in the Pulshar band on Desolat and the rock outfit GALGO. It makes sense, then, that his debut album Fool Again would have a pronounced percussion focus, but it's also far more than a simple collection of beat-based jams. Using samples lifted from vinyl releases from the '70s, '80s and '90s, Garnica has crafted a refreshingly concise, forty-three-minute set of material that oozes a soulful and oft-nostalgic vibe.

And the operative word is definitely craft, as Fool Again repeatedly impresses for the craft of its ten productions, with Garnica showing no small amount of taste in his shaping of the material. One hears clearly how well he arranges sampled elements into a coherent whole in a track such as “Put Your Hands,” where orchestral strings and keyboard and percussion accents form a lush backdrop to the titular vocal riff. It's also virtually impossible to know whether what one is hearing is Garnica's own playing or a sample—even if one presumes that the chunky synth smears draped across a cut such as “Getting” are Garnica's own contributions (it's also hardly likely that the old bluesman's drawl heard in “D.B.” is Garnica).

Fool Again starts strongly with “No Regrets,” a midtempo electro-sparkler sprinkled with vibrant synths and goosed by claps and an infectious, bass-prodded groove. The tracks that follow pointedly contrast with one another: simple acoustic piano melodies boost the quietly soulful languor of “I Don't Care About Winning, I Care About Playing”; vibes and Paulo Orlarte's vocalizing give the bump of “Oh Korea” a distinctive edge; and sweetly floating sounds of “Interlude” suggest a ‘60s Easy Listening vignette. Warm, melodic, and soulful are the keywords here, and none of them are objectionable when applied to the kind of serenading jams Garnica features on the album.

April 2013