For his latest album Switched-On, musician Pachy García, aka Pachyman, challenged himself to steer his dub-drenched dispatches towards another dimension.
The follow-up to 2021’s The Return of Pachyman, Switched-On is an homage to the generative artistic era when musicians first began manipulating synthesizers to emit gloriously off-kilter bleeps, bloops, and whooshes.
It also gestures to García’s chirring Korg Poly-800 analog synthesizer that forms the spine of these songs, particularly the effervescent
electronic interlude “Mi Sala.” Tunes like “You Looked at Me” fuse a mesmerizing, Krautrock-esque beat with synth musings reminiscent of
bands such as Boards of Canada and García’s own minimalist vocals for added texture.
In this session, Pachyman talks about combining the past and present by using instruments like the Korg Poly-800 synthesizer and the güiro, a traditional instrument used in his native Puerto Rico.
You can still hear the influence of his dub heroes, like Scientist and King Tubby, on Switched-On, but by infusing his own history into the music, Pachyman has taken dub music in a direction all his own.
“With Switched-On, I wanted to be more myself ,” Pachyman said.
He also talks about incorporating his voice into the music. The songs on Switched-On may only feature a few bits of songwriting, but Pachyman’s words still pack a punch. On “Trago Coqueto,” he sings about missing home.
“… which is a theme that I’ve never lost since I moved to LA. I’ve felt that I don’t really belong here,” he says.
With “Trago Coqueto”, Pachyman focuses on the Puerto Rican music scene of the nineties. New Wave dominated on the island at the time, which was later mixed with traditional sounds. There was a lot of experimentation with the synthesiser – and this can also be clearly heard in the case of Pachyman.
However, it’s not just the sounds that are vintage, but also the accompanying video, in which the singer, who comes from Puerto Rico but now lives in Los Angeles, sings into an old microphone and is accompanied by a tutti-frutti lady when it comes to dancing. Of course, there is also a cool drink on the keyboard. A bit trashy and kitschy, but also with a lot of self-irony.
And that’s exactly what this album is: nostalgic, ironic, funny, entertaining and innovative at the same time. Its recordings will make the first days of the year 2024 more enjoyable for you in the “album of the week” section, in which we wish you all the best!
NMR (foto: press Pachyman)