Without much background information supplied, no blurb or biography with which to initially get a handle, I plunged into Hando Aguilar’s flowing waters without so much as a literary life raft of the biographical armband. I just had to hope that I could learn to swim. But sometimes that is the best way. Without the distractions of a press release, all you have to go on is the music itself, no guiding hand, no pre-formed impression, no forewarnings.
The key to understanding what Hando Aguilar does is summed up in the song, I Don’t Wanna Be Good. Here he says that he wants to hear the bits between the keys. That he doesn’t care for the rigidity of the metronome. That having no fans means that there are no expectations of his music. He doesn’t need to be good, famous, or even noticed; he wants to be left alone to express himself. He doesn’t care what music went before or even if anyone listens.
And once you realise that this is music made with no ego, no sense of conformity, no need to be judged, liked or even bought, you can enjoy his strange world. And it is odd, but wonderfully so. As an album title, it says it all. Once he has told you that, he sets out a stall of strange and off-kilter electronica, experimental songs with generally enough addictive qualities and melody that you feel compelled to stick with.
And stick with it you should, especially if you are of a more musically broad-minded nature, as its oddness and eclectic character is rewarding indeed, and more so the more you play the album. It’s less about revealing hidden depths and more about hidden strangeness. But in Hando’s world, strangeness is something to be celebrated. By the third spin, you will find that you are starting to get this wilful outsider and off-beat music. It is the very definition of “art for art’s sake.” Should there be any other type of art?