Hector Buitrago, Conector

Pat Downy

By Pat Downy

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

It's not easy to sum up Conector, the first solo record by Hector Buitrago, an ex-member of the Rock en Espanol outfit Aterciopelados. It's a hundred different things at once, combining elements of electropop, samba and indie rock for a record that is gripping and mysterious.

Instead of moving mechanically from verse to chorus and back again, the songs on Conector meander, creating a tension that's almost tangible. Buitrago threads single, simple melodies over steadily throbbing percussion, adding elements slowly and steadily to work toward sinister finales. A grim string section swoops in like a wraith during the final moments of album-opener "Troncoroca Vientomar" and tiny electronic blips dart across the somber "Otravez" like tiny digital fireflies.

Buitrago nearly has the record stolen out from under him by his former bandmate Andrea Echeverri. With her mournful alto and clipped cadence, Echeverri plays Lisa Gerrard to Buitrago's Brendan Perry, bursting forth with a rush of frantic glossolalia at the end of the ethereal "Ourgamaloka". Conector is the kind of record that would have come out on 4AD in the mid-90s, full of strange shadows and unexpected turns.