When I met Paco Osuna at a CNTRL: Beyond EDM seminar this month, I was shocked to hear he was working with 10 different producers at once. His rationale was simply stated. “Every time I work with someone else,” he said softly. “I learn something new.”
After listening to Amigos Pt. 2, I’m a believer. As its title indicates, the EP is a follow-up to Osuna’s first Amigos installment two years ago, also on Richie Hawtin’s Plus 8 Records. Following the original’s formula, the sequel showcases four new techno collaborations with four different producer “amigos.” Read more about the EP after the jump.
Sporadic distorted samples introduce album-opener “Art Confusion,” a chugging paradox of a track that combines Paco’s trademark Latin rhythms with a casual rising bass line and incomprehensible vocal dissonance. German producer John Lagora, also a mainstay on Paco’s Mindshake Records, lends his atmospheric touch in abundance.
“Paner Mellow,” a collaboration with fellow Spaniard Uner, is an eclectic yet danceable production whose rolling bass and plucky synths are punctuated by a soundtrack of grunt-like vocal samples. Situated somewhere between subterranean techno and tribal ritual, the track is one of the EP’s most memorable offerings.
Bosnian producer Sinisa Tamamovic lends his talents to “Ponsatu,” arguably the release’s most accessible track. Boasting a catchy eponymous vocal line over a complex tapestry of reverberated bongos and djembes, textured sweeps and feminine breath intakes, “Ponsatu” manages to seamlessly couple sonically strange breakdowns with an infectious lead groove.
Osuna teams up with Brooklyn producer Tony Rohr on fitting finale “StaBass,” perhaps the EP’s most compositionally bizarre offering. Haphazard vocal tics alternate with distant drums and modular bleeps over a refreshingly organic snare brush line that ties the otherwise disparate elements together. Only Osuna could introduce cowbell and sounds resembling birds meeting windshields with such finesse.
A final takeaway from my conversation with Paco was the importance of being open to other artists’ visions when collaborating, an admittedly acquired trait he once struggled with. Amigos Pt. 2 stands as a compelling validation of this approach. While Osuna’s stylistic fingerprints are evident throughout, each track is also enriched by the careful incorporation of another’s aesthetic, like varied spices in a base broth. The result is a truly unique and appealing release.