Pablo Diaz-Reixa is a Spanish producer/musician who hails from Barcelona and records music under the alias El Guincho. His 2008 album Alegranza (named after a small island off of South Africa) is one of those albums that just sounds like taking all of your memories of a tropical vacation – spicy seafood, fruity drinks with little umbrellas, light beer, laying on a beach chair and listening to the ocean, snorkeling, long walks on the beach, etc. – and sticking those memories into a blender. And this makes sense since El Guincho is frequently quoted as explaining that he “just wanted Alegranza to be a space age-exotica kind of record. . . . The kind of record you play and it makes you feel like traveling to all these places but never stopping at one and then finding an empty space in the middle for you to get into it.” And this Veracruz-style snapper recipe is similar in many ways. That is to say it will make you feel like traveling to tropical places where you can drink Pacificos in a little hut on the beach while watching the sunset. And Alegranza should be the soundtrack to that setting. And although experimental in ways that make Animal Collective a notable comparison, it is also just an upbeat record that will make you feel good.
Through its course Alegranza touches on genres including Tropicalia, Afrobeat, Spanish folk, trance and dub. It opens with the fun, pure joy track “Palmitos Park” and follows with “Antillas” which features Afropop rhythms and short-looped ukulele. On this record, El Guincho takes the Barney Stinson approach to mix-tapes (i.e. a mixtape doesn’t need to rise and fall – it should be all rise!). While this sounds great in theory (especially when Neil Patrick Harris suggests it) it can get a little exhausting. Nonetheless, Alegranza is fun and solid through. For me the album highlights are: “Palmitos Park,” “Antillas,” “Kalise,” “Cuando Maavilla Fui,” and “Buenos Matrimonios Ahi Fuera.” Buy a copy at Insound.
Head back to eating/sf to read Kasey’s recipe for Veracruz-style snapper.