Label: Wolfskuil Records
Cat. #: WOLF002LP
Release Date: November 27th, 2015
A1 / 1. Aura
A2 / 2. Sapphire 00:08
A3 / 3. Il Mare
B1 / 4. Lacrimosa
B2 / 5. Delicatezza
C1 / 6. Amour
D1 / 7. Kristallin
D2 / 8. Sentir
Juan Rico, a.k.a. Reeko and a handful of other aliases, is a consistent and reliable ambassador of a Spanish techno scene that has brought us everything from Oscar Mulero to Tadeo. In his Architectural guise (which is also the name of his personal releasing imprint), Rico has developed a penchant for perfectly interlocking sonic elements and for a structural sensibility that delivers on the promises of advanced engineering implied by his artist’s pseudonym. The first result of his new alliance with the Wolfskuil label is a full LP that dispenses with the formalities of ‘introducing’ listeners to the artist, and simply dives straight in to depths of his active mind.
So just what type of ‘architecture’ is in store for listeners on this album? One immediately gets the impression of something massive and towering, yet open to the elements and with a fascinating view of the surrounding landscape for miles around. This feel comes through especially clear on the opening “Aura”, the poignant and chorally inflected “Il Mare,” and the closing “Sentir” (in which a voice repeatedly intones “I’m looking down” to emphasize the feeling of being a visitor to a world of imagined architecture). In Rico’s imaginary structures you can feel both the wind on your face and the steady, unfaltering pulse of the power grid. This is the case for the remarkably colorful “Lacrimosa,” which is powered by a ‘vintage futuristic’ solo synth singing over a backing chorus of chopped and chattering electric current. It also holds true for “Delicatezza,” in which a huge, yawning orchestral swell repeatedly crashes down like ocean waves upon the supporting structure of Rico’s techno towers.
These moments of cinematic and climactic beauty would, on their own, be enough material for an outstanding record, but there is still more: tracks like “Sapphire” evince a more straightforward hypnotic techno approach (only relatively speaking, though: in Rico’s hands a “straightforward” track is still one that uses atmospheric subtleties, organic effects and a balanced EQ mix to maintain a healthy distance from more conformist exercises.) When Rico truly gives himself room to stretch out – as on the epic “Amour” – he also shows how easily he can turn the challenge of a lengthy track into an opportunity for more innovation and further elaboration of his key concepts. This track acts very much as the centerpiece of the LP, morphing from a scintillating piece of celestial ambience to a busy groove train loaded with a cargo of unexpected percussive and melodic fills.
For listeners who value both lush musical dreamscapes and hard excursions into concrete reality, the new Architectural LP will be the perfect antidote to the conventional album, and a welcome companion for their own journeys into new dreams and realities.