Since 2007 Dario Rojo Guerra has explored a blend of soulful melody and off-the-grid beats, as Flako. Originally driven by a love of instrumental hip hop, his early MPC sketches were built from a warm, organic sound driven by Latin percussion reflecting his German-Chilean heritage. These productions attracted the attention of Project: Mooncircle, with whom he released two EPs and a compilation in 2011 called The Mesektet, a collection that drew a line under his first steps as an artist.
Over the past few years Flako has focused on expanding his sound into new places. No longer concerned with instrumental hip hop and sample-based production, his approach now sees him combine live instrumentation, synthesisers and his own voice into more detailed and intricate compositions. Inspired just as much by the ambient music of Vangelis, the jazz of George Duke and progressive rock of Bo Hansson as he is by the South American soul, folk and cumbia he absorbed from his family growing up in a small town just outside of Frankfurt, Flako’s music transcends genre and regional music forms.
In 2012 Flako released the Eclosure EP on London-based label Five Easy Pieces. Its cover, depicting a human figure standing just out of sync of its forest surroundings, mirrored the sense of a natural world being created throughout the record with a kaleidoscopic mixture of digital and acoustic tones. Dirg Gerner’s appearance on the record also demonstrated Flako’s ear for creating a refreshingly uncontrived take on R&B and soul, something audible on the two tracks he produced for Eglo artist Fatima, which appeared on her 2014 debut album Yellow Memories.
The theme of nature is more fully explored on his debut album, Natureboy, which sees him continue his relationship with Five Easy Pieces. Recorded over the course of a few short months, it represents a bridge from his previous work as Flako to the new musical identity of Natureboy. An attempt to create sonic balance, the album moves in ebbs and flows, the key inspirations of sun and water reflected in the interplay between serene soundscapes comprised of field recordings and orchestral interludes, and moments of tempestuous beatwork and urgent brass. Underlying everything is Natureboy’s voice, treated with effects and combined with synthesisers to offer a uniquely human touch, highlighting him as an electronic artist who believes in the importance of connecting to more natural elements in a hyper-connected age.