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Reviewed by Bruce Behner

Suren Unka: El Chupacabra

Reviewed by Bruce Behner

Suren Unka: El Chupacabra

As well as holding down the drum stool for Auckland indie-rockers Beach Pigs, Suren Unka dabbles in the field of electronica, producing a brand of ambient house.

His footing in the genre came from a beat-making program which he found inside a box of cereal, as well as being exposed to continuous floor-filling beats at a weekend job. Apparently culled down from an impressive 130 songs this 10-track debut album was entirely self-produced, engineered and mixed – the only assistance coming from UK engineer Stuart Hawkes, of Metropolis Studios, in the mastering stage.

While there is delicate beauty to match the CD’s contemplative cover, ‘El Chupacabra’ is based around steadfast beats which regularly follow the four-to-the-floor pattern. Unlike the shallow feeling often found in the house genre, this comes with a good dose of layering in the form of heavily effected vocal samples (including his Beach Pigs‘ bandmates Dahnu Graham and Nicole Pollard), complementary ambiance and multiple synth flavours – from lullaby, warped and buzzy to bleep and bloops – together making it a rewarding listening experience.

Singles Early and Alice are instant highlights, as well as the thunderous beat of Weather Science and deep synth-driven closing track Oryx. For those still wondering, ‘El Chupacabra’ takes its name from a mythical Central American creature.