[Reviewed by: stark]
Already on the first album, “Reflejos Del Sol”, this one-man project managed to develop its own style, quite unique on this scene, being a combination of folk and dynamic electronics, sometimes cold wave, sometimes even dance infused. Today, 16 years after releasing that album, we get the third CD of the Chilean, although today residing in Berlin, artist. And although the echoes of those old times are still noticeable at times, today Der Arbeiter is a slightly different project.
Yes, this old Der Arbeiter with minimal electro face, at some points a bit reminiscent of Wermut appears here a few times, in “En El Mar” for that matter, but next to that on “Amor Fati” we have the monumental face of Juan’s project. At the same time, I don’t consider this monumentalism as bombastic compositions or a flood of sounds full of pathos, but as smooth and austere structures, like Bauhaus architecture. Devoid of cheap ornaments, sometimes based on a single organ sound, like in “Der Ister” or the album’s opener “Ewige Wirderkehr”, yet giving the impression of something huge and appropriating the space such compositions intertwine with more song-oriented, dynamic forms, but still saturated with this specific “derarbeiteresque” atmosphere.
Of course, there is also a third musical face of this artist, standing somewhat halfway between the two mentioned above, i.e. compositions referring to the Iberian neofolk, songs for guitar, vocals, a mellotrone imitating synths and rhythmics often marked with castanets, being obviously the Iberian symbol. And in this context, I regret a bit that there is only one such track on the album, “Aus Diesem Traum Aufwachen”, which can be considered as the heir of the magic moments from the past, such as “Flores de Piedra” or “Hijo del Sol”. I always associated these songs with an empty beach, wine… sun, but in the end a sad day spent. Longing for the elusive.
But it’s still a great album. Der Arbeiter is never in a hurry to release new music, but it’s always worth waiting.