Cara a Cara: Alex Anwandter vs. Adanowsky

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Twitter: @maryangelrox

Lipstick, eye shadow, and traces of Chile circumvent the worlds of these two artists, who have experienced similar musical trajectories and who delve into issues of gender via their work. So, what are the right angles of this parallelogram?

Earlier this year Adanowsky released his third album or, rather, his bi-gendered alter ego, Ada, released an album titled after themselves. Conversely, Alex Anwandter released the title track and last single from his 2011 album, “Rebeldes,” the most personal song on the album and one that most directly alludes to a developing sexual identity. He has since stated he would be taking a respite from touring to finish work on his next album.

Both Anwandter and Adanowsky are trained musicians, one on the violin and the other on the piano, respectively, and both started at a young age. Their compositions feature a keen sense for melody and deftness at conveying emotiveness, whether longing or recklessness. Their lyrics tend to chew on big issues like love, humanity, and the evolution of the self, though Anwandter is more introspective and Adanowsky does so with an exhibitionist’s flair. Both of their back catalogues offer a pop-folk/pop-rock sound: Anwandter while working with Teleradio Donoso and Adanowsky while presenting as Amador, the title character and “voice” of his previous album.

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Adanowsky, 34, and Anwandter, 31, are both heavily influenced by 1980s new wave and glam rock, as is evidenced by a track like “Baila y llora” by Teleradio and by Odisea, Anwandter’s first solo album and full adoption of the synth sound. In addition, Anwandter’s recent work with Gepe (Alex & Daniel) continues in that same beat-making, electro-popish trend. For his part, after killing Amador, Adanowsky birthed Ada, an androgynous being whom Adanowsky has said to be half man and half woman. Similarly, Anwandter has repeatedly stated that he prefers to stay outside gender binaries and skirts questions regarding his sexuality in order to avoid any type of prejudice. As opposed to the wistful Anwandter, however, Ada seems to be an unhinged bon vivant and their music is reminiscent of some of the best dance-inducing tracks of the gay ’70s and ’80s.

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If “Dancing on the Radio” reminds you of “1901” from Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix that might be because engineer Jack Lahana, who works with Phoenix, was responsible for Ada’s mix. Though Adanowsky is someone who seems to find reinvigoration by reinvention, Anwandter evolves. In interviews he’s stated that music is a way for him to gain a deeper understanding of himself. Both musicians work in visual mediums and are prone to direct their own music videos. In fact, Anwandter is rumored to be working on a feature film these days. They both have an engaging stage persona, though Adanowsky is more akin to high drama and Anwandter to melodrama. Lastly, both artists have Chilean roots: Anwandter was born in Santiago to parents who hail from Germany, while Adanowsky is the son of Chilean filmmaker, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and grew up in France.

Ada is a fun dance romp, with lots of ’80s throwback innuendo, a great summertime album. And since we have awhile to wait for Anwandter’s next effort, Ada will make the months fly by.

Stream it free via their MySpace.