Hermanos Gutiérrez – Sonido Cosmico

Hypnotic guitar work from the brotherly duo...

Instrumental music always invites the listener to engage in acts of imagination. With guitar-slinging duo Hermanos Gutiérrez, the canvas teems with possibilities. Their last album ‘El Bueno Y El Malo’ rumbles and shimmers like the music of its titular inspiration Ennio Morricone. Appearances on guitar and production duties from The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, to which the brothers are signed to his Easy Eye imprint, heighten the record’s sumptuously melodic feel. Now with their third album, ‘Sonido Cosmico’ (translated in English as cosmic sounds), the brothers put their supernatural bond to the forefront and transcend to hypnotic new heights. 

Coming by way of Switzerland and Ecuador, Estevan and Alejandro Gutiérrez may only be armed with six strings each. Yet their musical chemistry is ineffable. A tender moment between the pair during a live concert in a desert city in New Mexico last year inspired the otherworldly theme of their new album. Three songs into their set, with the attentive crowd hushed under their mesmeric playing, they looked at each other in tears. The emotional charge on that night and a connection to a place that exists beyond words made them feel like mediums, they mention in a press release. And with all of the emotion that pours out of ‘Sonido Cosmico’, they’ve certainly captured the essence of this moment to the full.

‘Low Sun’ is perhaps the best of the bunch, with its steel guitar melodies conjuring scenes of rippling heatwaves flickering among cacti; the setting sun slowly disappearing beyond the desert dust, the never-ending highway vanishing into night. ‘Until We Meet Again’ forms the only outlier of the record, with its hopeful feel, intertwining riffs and subtly fluctuating delays and reverbs evoking a harmonic sense of connection among the otherwise cosmic album.

This aura is typified by the album’s title track. Patient additions of layers, textures and effects including brooding vibrato, spacey phasers and gorgeously delicate string arrangements give an almost sci-fi like feel to the sonic palette. Its accompanying music video is straight out of the Sergio Leone spaghetti western handbook, with slow camera pans and grainy film visuals paired with scenes of glistening butterscotch Gretsch guitars and a few UFOs for good, extraterrestrial measure.

While mostly pensive throughout, each moment on ‘Sonido Cosmico’ feels different from the other; each picture evoking something different from the imagination. It’s hard to find a track not to like here. It’s also no surprise that the duo are touring with Khruangbin this year – their album flows with the same ease that their counterparts have mastered. But most impressive of all, the fact that two brothers create music of such depth playing nothing but their own guitars is astonishing.

If you fancy an exploration of the cosmos in desert guitar form, look no further.

8/10 

Words: Jamie Wilde

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