El Guincho: Spain’s Favorite Son and his Space-Age Exotica Creations

El Guincho (real name Pablo Diaz-Reixa) is a solo artist originally from the Spanish Canary Islands (near the coast of Africa) and currently living in Barcelona whose popularity continues to skyrocket with every release thanks to his trademark sound: Space-Age Exotica, a potent cocktail mix of Electronic, Tropical, Bossa Nova and Pop music.

El Guincho. Photo courtesy Thomas Williams via The Guardian

Let’s dive in immediately with the song and (nsfw) video that made El Guincho the talk of the town last year:

Brief sidenote: The sequence with the girls flashing the cars on the freeway was (likely) inspired by a famous photo by Cass Bird featuring Bijou Phillips and Jen Brill:

Photo by Cass Bird

Diaz-Reixa put time in with groups Dead Man On Campus, La Orquestra de la Muerte (The Orchestra of Death) and Coconot before recording/releasing his solo debut album/CD-R, Folias, in 2006. There’s a strong “Kermit the Frog trips on acid at the beach” vibe to the music:

“Es Mejor Ser Un Kart”

“El Tiburon”

The collection of Psychedelic Pop tunes didn’t catch on like it’s successor, Alegranza!, did after its release in 2007. Comparisons to Animal Collective’s Panda Bear were immediate and unanimous (which Guincho didn’t mind) along with the Pitchfork seal of approval (take that as a positive or negative).

“Palmitos Park” and “Kalise” live at the Natural History Museum

“Cuando Maravila Fui”

El Guincho interview by Shockhound (RIP) on the making of Alegranza!

Guincho released a slew of remix EP’s in late 2009 as well as the first volume in a massive multi-volume EP project titled Piratas de Sudamerica (South American Pirates) in early 2010. Each volume will feature a number of covers from old-school Latino artists. You can stream Vol. 1 in its entirety below:

Guincho’s latest album is Pop Negro featuring lead single “Bombay” (the first video in this post), which won “Song of the Year” at this year’s Spain’s Independent Music Awards. The album title holds a double meaning: it means Dark/Black Pop in Spanish. However, in Catalan, Pop means octopus.

From XLR8R:

In early 2009, Diaz-Reixa met with some friends at a beachside Barcelona restaurant specializing in paella and seafood. It was at this restaurant that he spotted what appeared to be a fortuitous pairing of words. “I was kind of hung over and started reading the menu,” he explains. “‘Pop,’ in Catalan, means ‘octopus.’ At one point, I read ‘Pop Negro.’ It was like ‘Pop’ was one line and the other was ‘Arroz Negro’ [‘black rice’]. I misread it and I started thinking about ‘pop negro’ as a music concept.

The Spanish love their seafood.

Some music critics were disappointed by the linear structures of the songs on the album. The tracks aren’t as raucous or WOOO SPRING BREAK-y as their predecessors with each track stacked with an untold number of samples and effects. It could also be that the warm glow of Chillwave/Glo-Fi is fading quicker than you can say Electroclash.

No matter the case, Negro is still a fun album worth listening to. Some critics call it Guincho’s most accessible work to date. Well, it’s certainly more accessible than anything off Folias. Listen:


“Lycra Mistral”

“Danza Invinto”

I end this post with an amazing cover of “Lycra Mistral” by Andrea Balency:

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