By Bill Ragalie
With Ese asunto de la ventana, his second release in as many years, guitarist and vocalist Lisandro Aristimuño, who hails from the Patagonian province of Río Negro, shows an eagerness to combine folk rhythms with electronic instrumentation in fifteen songs that come off as peaceful yet intricate. Listeners familiar with traditional Patagonian rhythms will probably find themselves tapping along to the hints of such rhythms that Aristimuño creates with an overlapping and creative selection of modern sounds. Most of the tracks feature Lisandro on triple duty not only as lead vocalist and guitarist, but composing the album´s electronic samples as well. “Agua,” for example, maintains a strong techno base-pulse underneath soft, airy lyrics that evoke nostalgia for the artist´s homeland of Río Negro. Indeed, almost all of Lisandro´s lyrics are based on images derived from the simple natural beauty of the pampas, and he often uses such images as metaphors to express yearning for a lover: “Te vi salir desnuda sobre el mar/ Soy aire en tu mirar” (“I saw you leave naked over the sea/ I am the air in your gaze”). “Humo sobre el mar,” “Flor del valle,” and “Vos,” for example, never get above a slow trot. Even in this slower mode Lisandro can still inject a strong electronic vibe into his compositions, such as “En mí,” that wouldn´t seem out of place in a dance club. The overlapping of such a diverse range of instruments, however, never goes over the top, and each sound is well thought out and carefully laid down. Even in this, the music never becomes overly cerebral and continues pointing to deep roots in the natural beauty of Patagonia.
In your new CD, Ese Asunto de la Ventana, you mix a lot of more traditional rythms with electronic sounds. For you, how do these (very different) musical sounds talk to each other?
This mix of different styles is owed to the fact that when I was a kid my parents listened to a lot of Latin American folk music and this became a huge influence for me, later on the electronic aspect got to be very big here in Buenos Aires with computers and all the programs they offer… and so when I started to compose these two things united in a natural way, the electronic sound with the folk sound.
How did you get into music? How does the music you listened to as a child continue to influence you?
There’s not really and exact date for when I started, having my dad in the house who is a musician and theater director made art come very natural and that’s what I grew up with.
The music that you listen to as a kid, I think, is most influential because it comes at a time when you’re just beginning to find your own way, so in that respect that part of my life has been really valuable and a lot of the music I listened to then sticks with me till this day. Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Queen , the Beatles, Bob Marley, the Police, etc…
Where do you want to go with your music? Are there other musical genres that you want to mix in?
I make music because it makes me happy, I still haven’t thought about where I want to go…it’s what I least think about in the moment that I’m putting together a CD or composing…and thinking about it a little now, I think that I fundamentally want to get to the most pure and healthy feelings of my audience nomatter where I am.
Other genres? Bring ‘em on!.
For you, who are the local musicians that are most worth listening to?
Charly García, Gustavo Cerati, Pescado Rabioso, Soda Stereo, Sumo, Peteco Carabajal, Me Darás Mil Hijos, etc….
Was it difficult for you to come here from Rio Negro and start dedicating your life to your music? Is there anything about your hometown that you miss?
I miss (Río Negro) but lately I’ve made myself visit every two months like I’ve done a lot in the south in order to get in touch with myself and to find energy, and my parents and friends live there. It wasn’t hard to dedicate my life to my music because in the south I was already way into my music, but what was hard was adapting to this big city as a human being.
Tell me a little about Rio Negro. What are the cultural and musical influences like there?
In Río Negro there’s a lot of influence from national rock, among the younger crowds its very common to go to bars to listen to other’s songs (Soda Stereo, Charly García etc..)… and on the other hand there are folksingers who play in their houses or in local festivals.
Tell me a little about your experience in Buenos Aires. Do you really feel like a porteño? How does the city inspire you musically?
My experience in Buenos Aires has been really great, but I don’t feel like a porteño. The best example of how the city inspires me musically is plastered all over my second CD Ese Asunto de la Ventana, Buenos Aires was a huge influence on the lyrics for that disc.
Learn more about Lisandro: http://www.lisandroaristi.com.ar/