The Chilean producer's second solo artist album, and the first for his own Maruca label, feels like a love letter to his homeland, an album composed with the care of someone putting pen to paper rather than rushing out an e-mail. Indeed, if there is a consistent theme to Amigo, it's a desire to say something of substance with machines that supposedly make communication easier but where real meaning is often lost within the wires. In that respect, the alienation that often pervades Amigo is not just that of a man abroad on a foreign continent, but also of someone searching for a human connection in a virtual world.
Beginning with disjointed keys and bleeps interrupting whispered and barely audible voices, opening track "La Cortina De Hierro Y El Pajaro Cantor" feels as if Bucci is trying to call home but keeps losing the signal, a sense of isolation that is carried over into the yearning female vocal and equally plaintive electronics of "Canto Libre." Like fellow producers with South American roots such as Ricardo Villalobos and occasional collaborator Luciano, Bucci works Latin vocals and rhythms into what is ostensibly minimal techno. Amigo feels South American not because of specific samples, melodies, vocals or beats, though. It's in the way that Bucci contrasts these textures with hyper-modern production to capture the melancholy atmosphere of the bossa nova or tango. Amigo is an impressionistic album, and even when things apparently come more into focus on "Eternelle," the music still seems intangible and almost illusory. Even the more dance floor-driven tracks like "La Payaya" feel like echoes of a party taking place over the horizon.
Not that Amigo is intended as a club album. But even more so than its 2005 predecessor, Familia, Amigo asks to be contemplated as conceptual art, and as such it's often intellectually impressive but occasionally less emotionally engaging. Bucci is clearly exploring the gaps and tensions between things: man and machine, techno and traditional music, Europe and South America and memory and reality amongst others. That Amigo sometimes doesn't quite connect the head and the heart encapsulates this concept perfectly.