Here at Remezcla, we always make an effort to ask our favorite artists what their influences are. It’s a good way of learning how today’s Latinx musicians use tradition as reference points in their work. But beyond the iconic artists that have shaped the lives of so many music fans, we decided it would be powerful to ask our favorite producers, singers, and guitarists about specific albums that have moved them.
In the second installment of our Top 5 series, we spoke to Canarian producer El Guincho about moments that shaped his musical upbringing. “I don’t have five top albums,” he explained. “Here are five fundamental moments from albums that left their mark on me as a child.”
Check out El Guincho’s picks and some background on the selections from Pablo Díaz-Reixa himself below.
MC Solaar - "Obsolète"
“This album [Prose Combat] came out in ‘94; I was 11. I went to a French grade school so I only listened to hip-hop made there. I would wear an NBA jersey and Jordans that were huge on me. I waited a while for this CD. I’d burned the first one [Qui sème le vent récolte le tempo] and asked them to bring it to Discos Noda, the record store on my street. I learned it by heart and today I can still recite the whole thing. I started to understand what a producer really is by listening to Claude [M’Barali, aka MC Solaar] say ‘La funk mob!’ at the beginning of each track.”
Caetano Veloso - 'Araçá Azul'
“This isn’t even in my top five Caetano records, but it’s an album that opened my ears. The production, yes, but also the sequence – how the songs are ordered and the feeling the album leaves you with when you really understand it. It’s one of those records that makes you grow in spite of your own limitations.”
D'Angelo - 'Voodoo'
“Brown Sugar left a much bigger mark on me; I was younger and it impressed me more. It was really one of my entry points to contemporary soul and R&B, but I’m putting Voodoo first. There came a time where I felt disconnected from that type of music. I didn’t expect it and I went crazy for it. There are things on that album that you see young producers doing today, and they think they’re innovating. That demonstrates the [continued] relevance of that album.”
Art Ensemble of Chicago - 'Live in Paris'
“This album is a guide to recorded music in a very concrete way – [it explores] the space that isn’t ‘beat,’ that isn’t ‘melody,’ that isn’t ‘music’ in a conventional form, but nevertheless is decisive for your experience as a listener. Few albums can explain the space between musicians better than this one.”
Los Zafiros - 'Bossa Cubana'
“There’s no one like Los Zafiros. [They’re] amazing songs that make up the tangled knot that is filin. [It’s] a mix of music from other traditions [blended] to create something unique, characteristically Cuban and characteristically Caribbean, too. [They have] the capacity to find stylistic crossovers where everyone else sees problems. It’s an album that makes you feel proud and it encouraged me to be confident in myself – to realize that I could create something genuine, accept where I came from, and collide it with the things that intrigue me from different places.”