Today’s review comes to you from a part of the world that really knows how to take it easy: Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was there for a few weeks in college and had some incredible experiences. Not the least of which was a music performance at this out-of-the-way, back-alley club that just about everyone knew about. My Spanish wasn’t the best at the time so I missed most of the frightful things the singer was shouting – come to think of it, maybe that was because he was actually shouting into a comically large, inflatable champagne bottle. No matter. It left me with a bold impression of a colorful part of the world. It’s a shame I can’t remember the name of that band, but the one I’m sharing with you now should more than make up for it.
Ariel Romero is his name, Darkside is his game. And what a game he plays on his EP Buenos Aires Dreams. It’s smooth and vivid, and pulses with a flavor of life you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere other than downtown Buenos Aires.
His beats are crisp and uncomplicated and serve as a skeleton on which to hang the various pianos, trumpets, cellos, saxophones, and samples found in his music. It’s the consummate taking-it-easy album. You might even call it lounge music, assuming your lounge is real chill. Seriously though, it’s good.
The first track I’d like to point out — “Paul’s Soul (Dearest The Shadows)” – is a yearning ominous track, containing one of the more poignant instrumental exhibitions I’ve ever heard. About 1:20, after a light piano arrangement and basic drum beat sets it up, we’re struck with a profound cello exhibition. It doesn’t just pull on heart strings, it reaches into your soul and gives it a squeeze so you really feel the emotion and energy infused into the track.
“Busted”, is a beatific back-and-forth between a distant horn-and-flute ensemble and a somber trumpet all supported by an omnipresent drum-and-bass and punctuated by previews of Darkside’s skills on the deck. Inviting and enigmatic, it draws you in for an intimate conversation without indulging itself too much. And when it leaves, you’re left with the lingering scent of a deeply satisfying experience.
It’s been a long time since I cast a shadow in the Argentinian capital, but this album serves as a stark reminder of what I’m missing, and of what you’re missing if you’ve never had the chance to visit. Until then, have a listen, I’m sure you’ll find it agreeable.
Darkside – “Paul’s Soul (Dearest The Shadows)”
Darkside – “Busted”
Buenos Aires Dream (EP) release page at Dusted Wax Kingdom