Originally released in 2007 on Discoteca Océano, El Guincho‘s excellent Alegranza hasn’t quite gotten adequate distribution. Until now it’s only been available at live shows or as an import for anyone outside of Spain, but on Oct. 6th and 7th Young Turks/XL Recordings will be giving it a much deserved worldwide (remastered) re-release. I’m especially happy about this, because not only can I now get myself a legit copy of the record, but I can also use this as justification for including it in my list of Favorite Albums of 2008 (where it will surely find itself in a few months), since I hadn’t listened to it before I compiled my favorite albums from last year… though it easily could have sat in the top ten, even in a year as good as ’07.
If you haven’t indulged yourself already, Alegranza is a work that’s as fun as it is compelling. There’s no question that El Guincho shares certain sensibilities and stylistic similarities with like-minded samplers Panda Bear and Animal Collective, but his psychedelic aims are more driven toward raucous sun-soaked dance parties. Of course, by pulling heavily from afrobeat, tropicália, and calypso, his source material provides enough rhythms that one would probably have a hard time finding samples that didn’t lend themselves to this kind of percussive patchwork. But, El Guincho’s ear for melody and ability to create vivid, layered soundscapes are what propels this effort toward “great” territory. It remains to be seen if it’s a truly lasting work or not, but over the past months Alegranza has certainly stayed with me.
While you wait for the release, check out the tribalistic psych-doo-wop of album opener “Palmitos Park” in all of its remastered glory (via GvB). This fantastic track will also be released on Young Turks as a 7-inch single, with a b-side of The Ruby Suns performing a cover of the song.