Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Various Artists - Back to Peru: The Most Complete Compilation of Peruvian Underground '64-74

Various Artists - Back to Peru: The Most Complete Compilation of Peruvian Underground '64-74

The magic of compilations like this resides in their ability to to transport the listener to their era of choice, or at least give him/her an idea of the period. In 22 tracks, VampiSoul recordings takes us back to a period in Peruvian underground music in which psychedelia was recognizable everywhere. American influences are seen not only in the style of music played, but the language and image of the musicians themselves. However, as it usually happens, Peruvian musicians put some of their own influences on psychedelic rock, which makes this compilation a fun listen.

There are very few dull moments in which it may feel as if the performers are trying too hard to be American. Whether it's Los York's hazy atmosphere in "Abrazame Baby" or El Polen's take on Andean folk in "Mi Cueva", there's something distinctively Peruvian about the music on here, which can actually lead to non-Peruvian listeners or non-Spanish speaking listeners to miss some of the charm, especially in the lyrics. However, the compilation does not alienate anyone: A lot of the songs are in English and none feel "too Peruvian".

Back to Peru is essential for anyone interested in how American music influenced the South American underground, interested in garage rock, or anyone who wants a new take on psychedelic rock.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sun Ra - Deep Purple (1973)

According to himself, Sun Ra was born on an unknown date, in an unknown location on Saturn. According to some far more boring people, he was born Herman Blount in 1914, in Alabama. Regardless of his origin's, Sun Ra's music was undeniably otherworldly  and in his roughly 35-year career, Ra changed the face of jazz music, embracing a style far more bold, challenging, and fittingly extraterrestrial.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Biota- Invisible Map

From what I’ve gathered listening to an infinitely small sampling of all the music out there, all genres have their highs and lows.  Whether it’s a specific moment or scene, or just a handful of artists and albums, every category (save for an anomaly or two) offers both great and horrible music.    However, for me personally, the range of quality is never as extreme as with progressive rock.  At its best prog is both complex and evocative, offering varied and intricate instrumentation that can still stir up abstract yet potent emotions.  Conversely, emotions and an artistic focus are often eschewed for technical wankery, pseudo-intellectual concepts, and general soullessness.  Whenever I hear an album described as 'progressive rock', I get both excited and nervous, as the potential for both success and failure is massive.