Category Archives: Eduardo Mateo

THE DEMISE OF THE MASK (VOL. 8)__Bread & Circus ___

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Hello All.

Welcome to Volume Eight of the MixTape series: The Demise Of The Mask. –(Volume One here)__(Volume Two here)__(Volume Three here)__(Volume Four here)__(Volume Five here)__(Volume Six here)__(Volume Seven here)-

I’ve got quite a treat MixTape here for you as this one features a triple-play by Hamilton Leithauser: first there’s “We Can’t Be Beat” from the last album by his always fantastic group The Walkmen, 2012’s Heaven; then there’s a selection from Leithauser’s 2014 debut solo studio album, Black Hours; and finally there’s the song “When The Truth Is…” from last year’s stunning record I Had a Dream That You Were Mine, which is a collaborative work with Rostam Batmanglij (the former multi-instrumentalist and producer of Vampire Weekend).

You’ll also hear Aretha Franklin, some Beastie Boys, the lovely “Rainbows In Gasoline” by the duo of Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl who record together under the moniker of The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (or GOASTT), and a fine example of why John Lennon was one of the greatest of rock ‘n’ roll vocalists with The Beatles‘ tune “All I’ve Got To Do.”

As well, there are two selections from the Parliament-Funkadelic collective: first there’s a cover of The Beatles by incendiary yet so sweet guitarist Eddie Hazel from his 1977 solo debut Game, Dames and Guitar Thangs, which features incredible vocals by The Brides of Funkenstein (the duo of Dawn Silva and Lynn Mabry, who prior to joining the P-Funk collective were members of Sly and the Family Stone); later on you’ll catch the revolving, kaleidoscopic groove of “Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication” from Parliament‘s 1975 masterpiece, Mothership Connection.

Oh and I can’t forget to mention the rendition of Magic Sam‘s All Of Your Love” done with grit and precision by The Rolling Stones and taken from their joyous record of blues covers released at the end of last year, Blue & Lonesome.

Among a whole bunch of other great sounds this mix also features two figures who are perhaps the most poetic recording artists of Uruguayan music: Jaime Roos and Eduardo Mateo. The song “Viviendo” is from Roos’ third record, Aquello released in 1981. There is a translation done by my father below for those that are interested:

Viviendo (Living) by Jaime Roos [translated by Julio Calero]
I remember you
You’re the One
Who could understand  it
No big deal
That we do not love each other
You could understand it
.
Friend, where abouts may you be?
What seas may you be sailing?
Soon we’ll cross paths
And I’ll find you
Living
You’ll find me
Living
.
You’ll hear
The world was
And will be a marvel, I already know
It could be
My voice
Coming out of a nightmare that’s gone
.
Friend, where abouts may you be?
What seas may you be sailing?
Soon we’ll cross paths
And I’ll find you
Living
where abouts may you be?
Living
Alone, perhaps
Living

Throughout his long career Jaime Roos has continued to make an interesting mix of rock and folk with the more traditional sounds of Uruguay like candombe, milonga, tango and murga. He’s still out there performing and I highly recommend that if you ever have the opportunity you should definitely catch his show!

 Eduardo Mateo‘s “Niña” is a sweet tune done by a pure musician, and its recording comes with an interesting story. By the time Mateo’s phenomenal band El Kinto had officially disintegrated in the early part of 1970 most of Mateo’s friends and associates were already convinced that he had gone completely insane. Despite the fact that these same people viewed him as a musical genius, they did not know what to make of his habits of disappearing for days at a time, either to lock himself up somewhere in a rented room to explore new realms on his instrument while searching for spiritual enlightenment through chemicals, or to wander the streets with nothing but pajamas and a guitar—there was always a guitar, a rare constant in this man’s unhinged life. Once, my uncle saw him walking the streets at night with one foot aligned with the curb, the other with the gutter, so that he was forced to maintain an awkward and drastic limp to his gait—how’s that for a metaphor?!

Speaking of this period in Mateo’s life, Uruguayan singer Verónica Indart had this story to tell:

“The last time I saw him was in the first years of the 1970s. I was

with Héctor, my husband, and Mateo arrived. He entered, he took

up the guitar, and he sat down to play by the window, looking at the

sea for a long while. We listened to him. When he finished, he got up,

he set down the guitar and he went out the door without a greeting.

That was Mateo. He arrived, gave us his music and went on without

greeting us, because it was not necessary” (Lion Production, 2006).

In 1971, for those who were fortunate to have heard Mateo play there was no doubt of that man’s overwhelming talent—mental illness or not; however, beyond a handful of tracks there existed little recorded evidence of it. This would soon change due to the influence of talented singer Diane Denoir, and through the dedication and passion of producer Carlos Píriz. Píriz, a recording technician who had worked for the live, music television show Discodromo had recently started the record label De la Planta along with Jorge “Coyo” Abuchalja, guitarist for the group Los Delfines. The ethos behind this venture was to maintain a Uruguayan label that was dedicated to Uruguayan musicians, providing them with better production, recording techniques, and better distribution than the then norm. Fortunately, through Píriz’s connections, they were able to secure regular studio time at ION Studios in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the recording technology was far superior to that found in their native country (four tracks as opposed to two at most, for example).

In October of 1971 one such artist they chose to present to the public was the singer Diane Denoir. As she was recording a fair amount of Mateo’s material for her De la Planta debut, she felt it was only appropriate that the artist himself accompany her on some of the tracks. Having convinced Mateo to take the trip, Píriz quickly took advantage of the rare opportunity by persuading him to stay and record a solo LP for the label. However, in spite of Píriz’s optimistic plans to complete the recording in one week, he soon found that dealing with this erratic artist would be an ultimate test of endurance and patience.

The sessions went like this: Mateo had an alphabetic notebook,

and stuck in each page he had bar napkins upon which his songs

were written. If he knew the first letter of the title of the song he

wished to play, he would find the correct napkin, which would help

him remember the melody, so that he could recreate the original idea

he had envisioned when he had composed the song in the first place.

Remembering the songs was only the first obstacle […]. Mateo

would record songs one day, and erase them the next. “The first day

he recorded three or four things,” Píriz recalled. “The following day

he came in and said, ‘erase them. For Mateo, they are all wrong.’

We erased them. And that process of erasing the previous day’s work

continued for four or five days. At that moment, I understood that this

would be the system for the whole disc […]. I decided that I will be the

person who says what was well-recorded, or not, and I began to keep

all the material.”

On other days, Mateo went to ION studios only to say that he was not

inspired, and would return the next day. Then there were the days that

he appeared at the studio, and asked, “What time do we record tomorrow?”

“The same as today, at four o’clock,” Píriz would say. “Okay I am going,

until tomorrow,” was Mateo’s only reply (Lion Production, 2006).

 –

This whole arduous process continued for two months, until one day when Mateo said to the producer that he was stepping out of the studio to buy a pack of cigarettes, and never came back. He had returned to his streets in Montevideo. Píriz was left holding hours of recordings of these fragmented sessions—the only proof that Mateo had even been there. A labor of love, Píriz would then spend the better part of a year assembling these into the album that would be released in December of 1972: Mateo Solo Bien Se Lame.

One of the thirteen brilliant compositions that Píriz extracted from the chaos is the twisted beauty that is “Niña.” Through his dedication, Píriz was able to capture on this record the complex sensitivity of this troubled artist. Seeing as how, other than a rare background vocal here and there, Mateo created every sound on this album himself, his essence truly shines through each composition. There is a translation of the lyrics done by me below:

Niña (Little Girl) by Eduardo Mateo [translated by Bobby Calero]
Little girl that always has a light
showing you what you do not want.
Do not fear the birds
if they say your life with their trills.
It should be that you understand;
that’s why what comes next is what has gone.
Always in a white dress,
you go but beware;
The devils in the guise of angels
will notice you talking.
Does it shame you that you don’t care
what has been soiled?
Yuu…yu-le-lé yu-lé.
__

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—————–======ENJOY YOURSELF____———–

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demise_cvr_8

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A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS:
__The Demise Of The Mask (Vol 8)__Bread & Circus ___
  • Pick Pocket – Andy Votel
  • I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – Eddie Hazel (The Beatles cover)
  • All I’ve Got To Do – The Beatles
  • Rock Steady – Aretha Franklin
  • Secondary Modern – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
  • Church On Tuesday – Stone Temple Pilots
  • Been & Gone – Annette Peacock
  • Royal Cream / I Am Fire – The Afghan Whigs
  • I Wish I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again – The Staple Singers
  • Medicine For A Nightmare – Sun Ra
  • Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication – Parliament
  • Kissing My Love – Afrique
  • Dub The Mic / Gratitude – Beastie Boys
  • All Of Your Love – The Rolling Stones (Magic Sam cover)
  • Viviendo – Jaime Roos
  • We Can’t Be Beat – The Walkmen
  • Alexandra – Hamilton Leithauser
  • When The Truth Is… – Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam
  • Rainbows In Gasoline – The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger
  • Que Tristeza – Cal Tjader
  • Niña – Eduardo Mateo
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[Pick Pocket - Andy Votel]

[Pick Pocket – Andy Votel]

[I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – Eddie Hazel (The Beatles cover)]

[I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – Eddie Hazel (The Beatles cover)]

[All I’ve Got To Do – The Beatles]

[All I’ve Got To Do – The Beatles]

[Rock Steady – Aretha Franklin]

[Rock Steady – Aretha Franklin]

[Secondary Modern – Elvis Costello & The Attractions]

[Secondary Modern – Elvis Costello & The Attractions]

[Church On Tuesday – Stone Temple Pilots (photo by Mick Hutson)]

[Church On Tuesday – Stone Temple Pilots
(photo by Mick Hutson)]

[Been & Gone – Annette Peacock (photo by Richard Davis, 1972)]

[Been & Gone – Annette Peacock (photo by Richard Davis, 1972)]

[Royal Cream / I Am Fire – The Afghan Whigs (photo by Piper Ferguson, 2014)]

[Royal Cream / I Am Fire – The Afghan Whigs (photo by Piper Ferguson, 2014)]

[I Wish I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again – The Staple Singers]

[I Wish I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again – The Staple Singers]

[Medicine For A Nightmare – Sun Ra (art by Oliver Barrett)]

[Medicine For A Nightmare – Sun Ra (art by Oliver Barrett)]

[Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication – Parliament]

[Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication – Parliament]

[Kissing My Love – Afrique]

[Kissing My Love – Afrique]

[Dub The Mic / Gratitude – Beastie Boys]

[Dub The Mic / Gratitude – Beastie Boys]

[All Of Your Love – The Rolling Stones (Magic Sam cover) (photo by Kevin Winter, 2016)]

[All Of Your Love – The Rolling Stones (Magic Sam cover) (photo by Kevin Winter, 2016)]

[Viviendo – Jaime Roos]

[Viviendo – Jaime Roos]

[We Can't Be Beat - The Walkmen]

[We Can’t Be Beat – The Walkmen]

[Alexandra – Hamilton Leithauser]

[Alexandra – Hamilton Leithauser]

[When The Truth Is… – Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam]

[When The Truth Is… – Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam]

[Rainbows In Gasoline – The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger]

[Rainbows In Gasoline – The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger]

[Que Tristeza – Cal Tjader]

[Que Tristeza – Cal Tjader]

[Niña – Eduardo Mateo]

[Niña – Eduardo Mateo]

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__________——————– =__^__=___________________———
___________________))))))))))))))))

All the best to you and yours!—  –   ————-______-________ ->BOBBY CALERO[—+=-_________________If you dig the mix then please feel free to pass & post it along; if you dig an artist then please support them and go out and pick up some of their stuff. Oh, If you dig the blog overall there’s always the “FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL” button somewhere down at the bottom.

_           _________________   _  ___   _ _________ __________->

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THE DEMISE OF THE MASK (VOL 4)

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Hello All.

Welcome to Volume Four of the MixTape series: The Demise Of The Mask. –(Volume One here)__(Volume Two here)__(Volume Three here)-

Along with featuring a whole slew of fine, fine tunes by the likes of John LennonTom WaitsSteve Harley & Cockney RebelAlela Diane, Otis Redding, Kamasi Washington, Uruguayan singer Vera Sienra with her wistful waltz made in collaboration with the brilliant but erratic Eduardo Mateo, and a whole lot of others–this mix contains some more songs from a few of my favorite albums of 2016. Albums like Anderson .Paak‘s Malibu with its meticulous whirl and groove; Turkish artist Gaye Su Akyol and her kinetic sophomore record Hologram Imparatorlugu (Hologram Empire); Emily’s D+Evolution by Esperanza Spalding (which is a bit like if Joni Mitchell, Zappa, and Prince collaborated on a project); the fantastic Visions Of Us On The Land, Damien Jurado‘s (and sonic collaborator Richard Swift‘s) final installment of a loose trilogy that began with 2012’s Maraqopa and then continued with 2014’s phenomenal Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son; and also Solange‘s A Seat at the Table, which I just first listened to two days ago and was completely blown away by! Her track here on this mix–“Borderline (An Ode To Self Care)“–features production by Q-Tip, and along with his work on last year’s amazing A Tribe Called Quest record We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service he has really impressed me in this capacity.

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If you dig the mix then please feel free to pass & post it along; if you dig an artist then please support them and go out and pick up some of their stuff. Oh, If you dig the blog overall there’s always the “FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL” button somewhere down at the bottom

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—————–======ENJOY YOURSELF____———–

—  –   ————-______________ ->

demise-cvr-4

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A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS:
__The Demise Of The Mask (Vol 4)__When We Collide ___
  • Royal – Anon (aka Wynn)
  • Walrus – Damien Jurado (w/ Richard Swift)
  • I Am a Walrus – Freddie McCoy (The Beatles cover)
  • Moon – Björk
  • Windows – Chick Corea (w/ Miroslav Vitouš & Roy Haynes)
  • Clap Hands – Tom Waits
  • I Can’t Give You Anything – Ramones
  • Nothing I Can Do – Alela Diane
  • Do You Dig U? – Q-Tip, ft. Gary Thomas & Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Eski tüfek – Gaye Su Akyol
  • NGH WHT Chapter 18 – Saul Williams (W/ Thomas Kessler and The Arditti String Quartet)
  • The Season / Carry Me – Anderson .Paak
  • Borderline (An Ode To Self Care) – Solange, ft. Q-Tip
  • Judas – Esperanza Spalding
  • Umi Says – Mos Def
  • Isolation – John Lennon
  • Cluster Ghosts – Madlib
  • untitled 03 | 05.28.2013. – Kendrick Lamar, ft. Thundercat, Bilal, Terrace Martin & Anna Wise
  • Black Broadway – John Phillips
  • Barbary Coast – Weather Report
  • Si Tiene Final – Vera Sienra, ft. Eduardo Mateo
  • Final Thought – Kamasi Washington
  • I Love You More Than Words Can Say – Otis Redding
  • Tumbling Down – Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel 

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[Royal – Anon (aka Wynn)]

[Royal – Anon (aka Wynn)]

[Walrus – Damien Jurado (w/ Richard Swift)]

[Walrus – Damien Jurado (w/ Richard Swift)]

[I Am a Walrus – Freddie McCoy]

[I Am a Walrus – Freddie McCoy]

[Moon – Björk]

[Moon – Björk]

[Windows – Chick Corea (w/ Miroslav Vitouš & Roy Haynes)]

[Windows – Chick Corea (w/ Miroslav Vitouš & Roy Haynes)]

[Clap Hands – Tom Waits (still from 1986 film Down by Law by Jim Jarmusch)]

[Clap Hands – Tom Waits (still from 1986 film Down by Law by Jim Jarmusch)]

[I Can’t Give You Anything – Ramones]

[I Can’t Give You Anything – Ramones]

[Nothing I Can Do – Alela Diane, (photo by Guy Stephens for Swanfield Muse Project)]

[Nothing I Can Do – Alela Diane, (photo by Guy Stephens for Swanfield Muse Project)]

[Do You Dig U? – Q-Tip, ft. Gary Thomas & Kurt Rosenwinkel]

[Do You Dig U? – Q-Tip, ft. Gary Thomas & Kurt Rosenwinkel]

[Eski tüfek – Gaye Su Akyol]

[Eski tüfek – Gaye Su Akyol]

[NGH WHT Chapter 18 – Saul Williams (W/ Thomas Kessler and The Arditti String Quartet)]

[NGH WHT Chapter 18 – Saul Williams (W/ Thomas Kessler and The Arditti String Quartet)]

[The Season / Carry Me – Anderson .Paak, cover design by Dewey Saunders]

[The Season / Carry Me – Anderson .Paak, cover design by Dewey Saunders]

[Borderline (An Ode To Self Care) – Solange, ft. Q-Tip; (photo by Carlota Guerrero)]

[Borderline (An Ode To Self Care) – Solange, ft. Q-Tip; (photo by Carlota Guerrero)]

[Judas – Esperanza Spalding, (photo by Holly Andres)]

[Judas – Esperanza Spalding, (photo by Holly Andres)]

[Umi Says – Mos Def]

[Umi Says – Mos Def]

[Isolation – John Lennon]

[Isolation – John Lennon]

[Cluster Ghosts - Madlib]

[Cluster Ghosts – Madlib]

[untitled 03 | 05.28.2013. – Kendrick Lamar, ft. Thundercat, Bilal, Terrace Martin & Anna Wise]

[untitled 03 | 05.28.2013. – Kendrick Lamar, ft. Thundercat, Bilal, Terrace Martin & Anna Wise]

[Black Broadway – John Phillips]

[Black Broadway – John Phillips]

[Barbary Coast – Weather Report]

[Barbary Coast – Weather Report]

[Si Tiene Final – Vera Sienra, ft. Eduardo Mateo]

[Si Tiene Final – Vera Sienra, ft. Eduardo Mateo]

[Final Thought – Kamasi Washington]

[Final Thought – Kamasi Washington]

[I Love You More Than Words Can Say – Otis Redding]

[I Love You More Than Words Can Say – Otis Redding]

[Tumbling Down – Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel]

[Tumbling Down – Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel]

__________——————– =__^__=___________________———
___________________))))))))))))))))

All the best to you and yours!—  –   ————-______-________ ->BOBBY CALERO[—+=-_________________If you dig the mix then please feel free to pass & post it along; if you dig an artist then please support them and go out and pick up some of their stuff. Oh, If you dig the blog overall there’s always the “FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL” button somewhere down at the bottom.

_           _________________   _  ___   _ _________ __________->

The Burning Veil; Quite Possibly

If you dig the mix then please feel free to pass & post it along; if you dig an artist then please support them and go out and pick up some of their stuff.

_________________________________________________

The Burning Veil; Quite Possibly

.

Watching children draw pictures

in the dust after rapture;

an exhausted cannon’s roar;

flocks of dollarbirds scatter

up to branches—black and bare—

of old, spavined trees buried

under the white weight of winter

.

Rectangles of poured concrete;

Facades of metal shudders;

Pulled down and padlocked.

.

THE WORLD DON’T END

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 The Burning Veil; Quite Possibly-cvr

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A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS: THE BURNING VEIL; QUITE POSSIBLY
  • West – O(+>
  • Dance Me To The End Of Love – Madeleine Peyroux (Leonard Cohen cover)
  • Sea of Tranquility – The Houstons
  • Pretty Baby – Entrance (Guy Blakeslee, Paz Lenchantin, Derek James)
  • Lungs – Townes Van Zandt
  • The Plan –  O(+>
  • ONALASKA – Damien Jurado
  • King of Kings – Lilacs & Champagne
  • Groundwork – Saul Williams
  • Your Time In This Life Is Just Temporary – Jane Weaver
  • I Didn’t Know What Time it Was – Bobby Lyle
  • The Devil – PJ Harvey
  • The Motel – David Bowie
  • Waiting For A Dream – Rufus Wainwright
  • Amethyst – Jonny Greenwood
  • Everything Merges With The Night – Brian Eno
  • East – O(+>

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Hello All!

__________________–>
O(+>
Prince in 2002

Prince in 2002

Here on this mix you’ll be treated to 3 instrumentals by the recently and dearly departed Prince. Besides the brief number “The Plan” (from 1996’s 3-disc Emancipation) the mix opens and closes with two fourteen-minute tunes (“West” & “East“) from 2003’s N.E.W.S.!
Although this is a record that is generally slept on, I’ve always dug how textured Prince’s multi-instrumentalist work with electric guitar, Fender Rhodes, digital keyboards and percussion is here in a looser–even desultory–context then his more bizarre but generally pretty tight pop and R&B constructs. His guitar twists from a swoon to sparks with little effort and even less notice. Along with the intricacies of John Blackwell on drums, Rhonda Smith on acoustic and electric bass, and Renato Neto on piano, Prince works most intimately with the warm brass of saxophonist Eric Leeds.
Eric Leeds in the Madhouse promo photo

Eric Leeds in the Madhouse promo photo

In that regard this LP (all recorded in one day–February 6  2003) could be seen as something of a modern incarnation of Madhouse, the jazz/funk-fusion project that Prince used to surreptitiously release two albums under in 1987 (which, by the way and in my opinion might feature some of Prince’s finest drumming on record).  (You can read an article on Madhouse by Miles Marshall Lewis over at Wax Poetics magazine). 
N.E.W.S. still has that soulful funk of Madhouse, but oh, with what a wonderful meander!
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Here’s the lovely Madeleine Peyroux bringing a piquant, yet lilting sorrow to her 2004 cover of  Leonard Cohen‘s “Dance Me to the End Of Love.” My father got me both the record that this is from and her 2009 album Bare Bones, and with every tune whether a cover or original she applies an exquisite amount of dust to her throat.
Originally featured as the opening track to Cohen’s 1984 album Various Positions (and likewise Peyroux’s Careless Love from 2004) it’s not often that an album begins with a lyric as evocative as:
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in

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The Houstons was nothing more than a pseudonym for Japanese film composer Nozomi Aoki on this 45 record that was most likely released as a cash-in to coincide with the moon landing in 1969.
However, with its keening drone and sedate noodling, the B-Side “Sea of Tranquility” is certainly one of the strangest novelty records I’ve ever heard (and they’re all always pretty off the wall, like this au-go-go advertisement for 7-Eleven’s sugar drink the Slurpee, called “Dance the Slurp“).

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Entrance (a band fronted by Baltimore-boy Guy Blakeslee, while Derek James provides drums, filmaker/photographer Maximilla Lukacs gives some additional sounds, and the adroit Argentine Paz Lenchantin–best known for Maynard James Keenan‘s side-project A Perfect Circle— provides violin, bass guitar, string arrangements and co-production duties) deliver something equally apocalyptic as it is hypnotic. Released on the 2006 record Prayer of Deathan album of gnarled psychedelic blues “inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead , Delta-Blues legend Charley Patton, and the daily death-vibrations of the Modern World, which seems to be suspended in a State of Total War”– “Pretty Baby” lets a libidinous howl whirl out from a maelstrom.
I recently saw Guy Blakeslee perform solo as the opening act for Father John Misty‘s I Love You Honeybear record release show at the Rough Trade record store in Brooklyn, and Blakeslee might have been stripped of some sound but remained as intense and mesmerizing as he is here.

(on somewhat of a side-note I also highly recommend Paz Lenchantin‘s solo album of brief but intimate acid-folk, Songs for Luci. Self-recorded in 2003 in a rented room in the town of Louisville Kentucky, the layers of voice and violin and picked guitar were all rolled out by her as part of a grieving and healing process for her brother Luciano who committed suicide in 2003. I will get around to including some of that on a mix soon I’m sure, but you can watch and listen to a lovely lament from that record here: “Kentucky Hymn.”)

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With Townes Van Zandt‘s “Lungs” another apocalyptic and hypnotic tune follows, but this one can deliver without resorting to any Rock ‘n’ Roll bombast. Recorded in 1969 when Texas-native Townes was only 25, simply put, this is one of the most haunting songs I have ever heard.
As a young man Townes was treated for schizophrenia and manic depression using a discredited procedure called Insulin Coma Therapy (ICT). Side effects of this treatment include retrograde amnesia, spasms, and difficulty breathing. You can see how this might have fed into the opening lyric of:
“Well, won’t you lend your lungs to me? / Mine are collapsing.”
Jason Heller wrote a great article for The A.V. Club examining this song and I very much recommend the read. This song feels like a riddle, but one where the solution has been lost down some memory hole. Desperate but with a true beauty, likewise I recommend you read the lyrics pasted below:
Well, won’t you lend your lungs to me?
Mine are collapsing
Plant my feet and bitterly breathe
Up the time that’s passing
Breath I’ll take and breath I’ll give
Pray the day’s not poison
Stand among the ones that live
In lonely indecision
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you’ve found
You fool, it’s only moonlight
If you start to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another
Salvation sat and crossed herself
Called the devil partner
Wisdom burned upon a shelf
Who’ll kill the raging cancer
Seal the river at its mouth
Take the water prisoner
Fill the sky with screams and cries
Bathe in fiery answers
Jesus was an only son
And love his only concept
Strangers cry in foreign tongues
And dirty up the doorstep
And I for one, and you for two
Ain’t got the time for outside
Just keep your injured looks to you
We’ll tell the world we tried
_____________–>
slave
The Plan” –a pleasant squiggle of sound from Prince‘s 1996 3-disc celebration of leaving his contract with Warner Brothers: Emancipation.
_________________–>

Damien Jurado – Photo by Patrick Richardson Wright

Eerie yet with a jaunt to it, in “Onalaska,” Damien Jurado sings: “I went looking for a new direction / Indecisive, undecided.”  A sense of searching and yearning is an integral element to the 17 tracks of his newest album, Visions Of Us On The Land.
Yes, this sense of searching and yearning is integral just as it has been to the atmospherics of the two records that preceded this final installment of a loose trilogy beginning with 2012’s Maraqopa and followed by 2014’s phenomenal  Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son).
As with Jurado’s prior three LPs (beginning with 2010’s Saint Bartlett) this one is performed with and produced by one of my favorite recording artists, Richard Swift. (Pick up and listen to any record by Swift, and then pick up another and say wow!)
mydailymug.bw

Richard Swift

Swift seems to intuitively know where to let a Damien Jurado tune remain skeletal and where it demands to be lush with a soft crush of analog recording equipment, all to serve the music, all to make you feel the way Father John Misty (Josh Tillman) writes in this essay that Jurado’s music makes him feel: “Jesus is out of his goddamn mind, and I want to live in Damien’s America.”
Damien Jurado & Josh Tillman, photo by Sarah Jurado

Damien Jurado & Josh Tillman, photo by Sarah Jurado

Here’s the James Halland directed video for Visions of Us on the Land‘s “QACHINA” and another for the Elise Tyler video for “Exit 353″:

________________________–>
Alex Hall and Emil Amos (both of the Portland, Oregon based instrumental psych band Grails) have really done well producing music that can whirl like a spool of deteriorating cinema inside your skull with their project Lilacs & Champagne. I’ve already used their tracks on numerous mixes and will certainly continue to do so. I really love their tastes when spinning some samples of dusty vinyl under the layers of reverb drenched instruments and found sound they slather atop.
The track you hear here, “King Of Kings,” comes from their self-titled debut released in 2012, and it sits like a cinder that smolders between your ears!
_____________–>
 
To the promised land…
To the promised land…
To the promised land…
In a recent review for NPR Timmhotep Aku put it perfectly when he wrote:
“If there is one phrase that captures the overall mood and attitude of Saul Williams‘ latest album, MartyrLoserKing, it’s ‘Fuck you. Understand me.’ The refrain, from the song entitled ‘All Coltrane Solos At Once,’ is both a defiant middle finger raised to humanity’s oppressors and an empathetic hand extended to those who are oppressed (including the unwitting and unwilling agents of oppression).”
 
I highly recommend all Saul Williams’ work (whether literature, like The Dead Emcee Scrolls, or music, like the brilliant and Trent Reznor produced The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!).
Released this past January, MartyrLoserKing is no exception. Working with producer Justin Warfield, the record features a fevered click-clack clatter and clamor married to melodic chants, hand claps, a somber bounce of drum and bass, and digitally phased rhythms. Of course first and foremost, it also features the intricate lyrical delivery of the supremely talented Williams’ himself.
On “Groundwork and all twelve tracks, Williams’ words and cadence blister through the beats, either with the beauty of the world or from the injustice imposed upon it. I just can’t get enough of the pacing and sense of play with which he delivers the lines:
.
Martyr. Loser. Sinner. Beggar. Chooser
Chosen. Leader. Of the tribeless. Neither [neether]
Neither [nigh-ther]. Nor the only living son of Mr. Lonely
Toe spin on that money
.
New house. New school. New hospital.
No. No
New church. New God. New race of the tribe of
Neither [neether], neither [nigh-ther], ruled by either [eether] either [aye-ther]
Son of nonesuch, bewitched by the queen of
Anger. Self control. Tolerance. To and fro
Wisdom. Ecstasy. Memories of her history
Neither [neether]. Neither [nigh-ther]. Won’t be either [eether] either [aye-ther]
Nor the brown dirt
Foot stomp. Hand clap. Groundwork
(Check out the video for “The Noise Came From Here” where Williams walks barefoot through the streets of Ferguson, Missouri , where recently a white police officer walked free after his 2014 killing of an , an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown. Williams is accompanied by Brown’s friend, the poet Marcellus Buckley and by local Reverend Osagyefo Sekou.)
Here on MartyrLoserKing, when confronted by the puppets on the hand of The Ape of Ignorance & Greed who bark “it’s all mine now,” Saul Williams does as he has always done; he grits his teeth, twirls his fingers, does a dance, and spits poetry. As always, he urges you to do the same.
_______–>
 
Your Time In This Life Is Just Temporary” is the big finish to Jane Weaver‘s beautiful experimental album where woozy synthetic folk,  cinematic pop music, and cosmic-prog ballads ribbon around the more organic elements of her voice and traditional instrumentation: The Silver Globe. Rhythmically crisp through its psychedelic haze, I do consider this record something of a masterpiece (although I’m still in the process of listening to it) and Jane Weaver (who is also an author) seems to be an intelligent soul fully attuned to her attendant spirit of genius. At times throughout the record the coiling analogue sounds and warm, vintage synths seem to softly chew through the morsels of her strong melodies–as rust through delicate metals–leaving wistful crumbs that either evaporate or fuzz over, buzz, and blossom into strange new creatures on the next track.
 
I’m not sure I can say exactly why but this album brings to my mind a children’s picture-book biography I recently read, Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois. Written by Amy Novesky and illustrated by the fantastic Isabelle Arsenault, the book follows the artist’s creative growth from a juvenile on into adulthood. In a post for her stunning and always stirring blog Brain Pickings (with its stated intention being to aid us to “tap into our mental pool of resources,” which I must say is a bit of my aim with my own blog and these MixTapes–to inspire you to do what you do), Maria Popova states that Louise Bourgeois was “one of the fiercest creative minds and most luminous spirits of the past century.” Elsewhere Popova also depicts the creative process as a “dancing in a delicate osmosis of conscious and unconscious work,” and I think the excerpts from Cloth Lullaby below hint a bit at that: 
She loved to work in the warm sun, her needle rising and falling beside the lilting river, perfect, delicate spiderwebs glinting with caught drops of water above her.
Sometimes, they’d spend the night, and Louise would study the web of stars, imagine her place in the universe, and weep, then fall asleep to the rhythmic rock and murmur of river water.
 

With the remaining fabric of her life, Louise wove together a cloth lullaby. She wove the river that raised her — maternal pinks, blues in watery hues. She wove a mother sewing in the sun, a girl falling asleep beneath the stars, and everything she’d ever loved.

When she was done, all of her spiders beside her, she held the river and let it rock her again.

Along with I’m sure numerous others,The Silver Globe was influenced by Suzanne CianiAnnette Peacock; Hawkwind; Alejandro Jodorowsky; Mad Max; the work of Barbarella creator Jean-Claude Forest, like his cartoons with Serge Gainsbourg and André RuellanMarie Mathématique; the “chemical environment” of her upbringing in Widnes (between Liverpool and Manchester); composer (and another Gainsbourg collaborator) Jean-Claude Vannier; and the soundtracks to European surrealist, new wave, and avant-garde cinema of the 1970s.

art by Jean-Claude Forest for his 1970s comic-strip Hypocrite. After adventures investigating the Loch Ness Monster and being transported to a future Earth, the character Hypocrite becomes involved in a galactic conflict between meat-eaters and vegetarians.

None of this comes as a surprise as Weaver is the head Bird Records, an offshoot in the satellite of record companies and reissue labels co-founded by her husband and DJ/producer, Andy Votel:  Finders Keepers, Twisted Nerve, and B-Music. I have loved every single album I have picked up from these labels and only wish that funds permitted me to pick them all up. I highly recommend you look through their catalog and get something that piques your interest.
Other Music in Manhattan carried a ton of this stuff, but sadly (so sadly) I recently found out they will be closing their doors on June 25. Besides being my go-to store for music since they opened across the street from Tower Records in the mid-nineties (I used to work for years in Shinbone Alley off of Great Jones Street one block away) this is where I had such a humorous encounter with Robert Pollard creative force behind Dayton, Ohio’s own spectacular band Guided by Voices (I was later told that our meeting has become one of Pollard’s New York stories that he tells friends).

Alien Variables collage by Robert Pollard. I now own an original one by him titled Hooked Feather, which I’ll be sure to post a picture of one day.

Anyway, where were we? Weaver’s album itself takes its name from Polish filmmaker Andrzej Żuławski‘s sci-fi parable Na Srebrnym Globie (On The Silver Globe). (You can read a retrospective of his cinema by Daniel Bird for Film Comment Selects here and another one by Ela Bittencourt here).
On the blog Ballad of The Absent Mare James Merolla wrote this “pocket” review of the film:
There is an incredible beauty to this film that I can’t define. It is fractured and fragmented, with amazing bursts of wild creation and life, and dark caverns of ugly human nature. Zulawski explores the absurdity of our human instincts, and the cold opportunistic refuge found in worship. It is a blunt look at the current state of life on earth, god without love, war without reason, life as a jangled mix of pain and anger, with a vain, desperate attempt to make sense of how significant or insignificant we are.
As Weaver explains in a 2014 interview with The Quietus:
The title is also a homage to the post-apocalyptic visual elements to a film, On The Silver Globe, by Andrzej Żuławski (based on a book by his great uncle) which was put on hold by the Polish government for ten years. Żuławski had already had two films banned in Poland due to political paranoia, he then fled to the free West only to have his next film, Possession, banned by the BBFC who wrongly considered it a video nasty… four banned feature films but he still kept going because he was a true artist at one with his creativity.
She also explains how she uses the image of The Silver Globe as a metaphor:
“The Silver Globe is basically a red herring. It’s like the yellow brick road to the imaginary emerald palace or the house with the golden windows. The harder you try to get there the stronger you become and the reflective ball begins to shine brightly, but in reality the ball is just a mirror reflecting your own hard work and your development as a human being. Once you come to terms with this life gets easier.

Jane Weaver with her children Scarlett and Herbie for The Mothers.

This “development as a human being” is what culminates in “Your Time In This Life Is Just Temporary.” Again Jane Weaver’s comments:
 “This is the last track on the album and returns to organic instruments like piano and drums as opposed to synths, which is probably the direction I will go with on my next LP. The Silver Globe has disappeared and the girl has become human, it was all an illusion… human life and love is the prize.
“As a young artist I grew up believing that you had to take certain dictated paths, but you realize it sometimes feels like the electric carousel in Logan’s Run where humans are exterminated at 30 years old… unless you form an underground resistance and find that there is a giant world out there, at which point the central computer self-destructs and society returns to the organic elements and freedom!
 
“Devising your own independent system is a wonderful thing, with so many multi-faceted social elements to enjoy. On my records and via the label I have tried to create a community and a family working with artists ranging from seven years old to 70 years old with as much creative freedom as possible.”
You can watch the fun Neirin Best directed video for The Silver Globe‘s sort of circus-sideshow-funk-lounge track “Don’t Take My Soulover here:

and the Kluncklick created video for “The Electric Mountain” here:

___________________________________________________–>
lyle
Although most of the 1977 debut LP Genie by Bobby Lyle was primarily an instrumental fusion and crossover jazz effort interspersed with R&B vocals, Lyle concludes the record with an unaccompanied piano detour of the standard “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” which is what you’ll hear here.  Produced by hard bop trombonist Wayne Henderson (who was also behind Ronnie Laws‘ superb Pressure Sensitive of 1975), overall this record does reflect Dr. Schluss’ 4 out of 5 review on his amazing blog Dr. Schluss’ Garage Of Psychedelic Obscurities: “neon sparkles of 70’s jazz-funk” and “It’s tangible music for me – with the notes forming globs of glowing plasma converting the entire room into a lava lamp.  Well, figuratively at least.”
__________________________________–>
 
I will not claim that White Chalk is the best record by PJ Harvey, but at times it is the one that fascinates me the most, Then there are times I can’t even make it through its eleven tracks. On this album Harvey abandons her innovative use of distorted guitars and electronics (always arriving with a swell and crush). She also abandons her feminine grow.l This sense of abandon is what most colors this record as she utilizes an unfamiliar piano while singing in a much higher register than usual, which often leaves her sounding like an insane little girl who has been forced mature by a dark world.
More so (and I do not pretend to know any of the real life inspiration behind this record) it always sounded to me like a woman who lost her child and then quickly lost her way. There is an unnerving repetition and austere menace to the music with subtle whines and barely perceptible but lambent shifts to the air; it is the sound of cold attics,  it is the sound of collision and erosion where cliffs kiss the sea, it is the sound of white gowns torn by dry thickets.
 
The lead single for White Chalk was the song “When Under Ether” which likely references these lines from the East Coker section of Four Quartetsa 1943 collection of poems by T. S. Eliot: “[…] Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing – I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope.” And that sets the mood for the just under thirty-four minutes that comprise this record. It is a mood of life passing; or as she sings in that very same song:
Something’s inside me
Unborn and unblessed
Disappears in the ether
This world to the next
As Harvey herself said in a 2007 interview with John Harris for The Guardian, “These aren’t just words. They’re songs. They inhabit themselves, really.”
Unlike the condition of rough scribble that marked her previous record Uh Huh Her, White Chalk is complete to itself, but it is not one I would recommend to someone who is curious and unfamiliar to PJ Harvey’s work. It fascinates me that something so brittle could have such bite. Even the lyrics are thin, but in their delivery operate like thin fingers that scratch through a winding cloth to grip you around the throat; such as here on “The Devil”:
As soon as I’m left alone
The devil wanders into my soul
And I pretend to myself
And I pretend to myself
I go out
To the old milestone
Insanely expecting
You to come there
Knowing that I wait for you there
That I wait for you there
Come!
Come!
Come here at once
Come!
Come
On a night with no moon
Because all of my being is now in pining
All of my being is now in pining
What formerly had cheered me
Now seems
Insignificant
Insignificant
_____________________–>
 
I am still reeling from the sudden news of David Bowie‘s death on January 10, 2016, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his final, harrowing, strange, and truly beautiful record, Blackstar. This parting album is one that continues to elicit a response of real tears while I listen and sing along. In fact I’m still working on a post for another mix that happened to feature his music and coincided with his death.
 
David Bowie released the album 1.Outside in 1995, and in many ways that was my first true introduction to him as a living artist (I had just turned 15 and was obsessed with Nine Inch Nails‘ The Downward Spiral). With its subtitle of the Ritual Art-Murder of Baby Grace Blue: A non-linear Gothic Drama Hyper-Cycle, I’ve always found it to be quite enthralling, particularly in the insidious manner in which its dense grit and reeling textures work to distress and derange the listener.
His hand-scrawled notes for this album are on display near the entrance to the The Victoria and Albert Museum’s internationally touring exhibit David Bowie Is, and in them you can read:
“Taking the present philosophical line we don’t expect our audience to necessarily seek an explanation from ourselves. We assign that role to the listener and to a culture. As both of these are in a state of permanent change there will be a constant “drift” in interpretation. All art is unstable. Its meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author. There is no authoritative voice. There are only multiple readings.”
To riff off of one of George Steiner’s views, creativity is essentially a diasporic condition. It is exactly this unstable condition that both allures me to Bowie’s work and that makes it difficult for me to write about. He is a moving target (and I a poor marksmen).
One way for me to attempt to describe Bowie’s work would be to borrow Samuel R. Delany‘s introduction to his own 1973 novel of hardcore erotica and cartoon pornography, Equinox:
 
“This is an artificial, extravagant, and pretentious book […]. But it is honest before its artifice; and in this age of extravagant expressions, honesty is the last pretension.”
Or as Bowie said in his speech at a 1999 graduation ceremony where he received an honorary doctorate from the prestigious Berklee College of Music:
 
 
So it seemed that authenticity and the natural form of expression wasn’t going to be my forte. In fact, what I found that I was good at doing, and what I really enjoyed the most, was the game of “what if?” What if you combined Brecht-Weill musical drama with rhythm and blues? What happens if you transplant the French chanson with the Philly sound? Will Schoenberg lie comfortably with Little Richard? Can you put haggis and snails on the same plate? Well, no, but some of the ideas did work out very well.
[…]
And then I went on a crusade, I suppose, to change the kind of information that rock music contained. I adored Coltrane, Harry Parch, Eric Dolphy, Velvet Underground, John Cage, Sonny Stitt. Unfortunately, I also loved Anthony Newley, Florence Foster Jenkins, Johnnie Ray, Julie London, the legendary Stardust Cowboy, Edith Piaf and Shirley Bassey.
[…]
From which I learned that mixing elements of bad taste with good would often produce the most interesting results. So, in short, I didn’t feel comfortable as a folk singer or an R&B singer or a balladeer. I was drawn more and more to the idea of manipulation of signs, rather than individual expression—a concept that really had its start in the late 50s with Pop Art and by the early 70s I found myself making what British writer Simon Fricke described as “art pop.”
It wasn’t so much about how I felt about things, but rather, how things around me felt.
Earlier up above I used the phrase “memory hole” when writing about Townes Van Zandt‘s “Lungs,” well here on the track “The Motel” Bowie perfectly captures what a memory hole feels like. There is a trace of deranged grace, but that might just be people playing pretend and kidding themselves; it’s all still typically a stagnant affair. I’ve always loved how Bowie makes the declamatory statement of:
There is no Hell…
but then how quickly that phrase is turned on its head and soured by being followed with
…like an old Hell
 
This song brings to mind certain passages from the 1873 book length prose poem Une Saison en Enfer (A Season in Hell) by perhaps the greatest poet of all time (certainly my favorite) Arthur Rimbaud, such as this one (translated by Louise Varése):
    –And what of me? All this hardly makes me regret the world very much. I am lucky not to suffer more. My life was nothing but sweet follies, it’s a pity.
    Bah! Let’s practice every imaginable grimace.
    Decidedly we are out of the world. No longer any sound. My sense of touch has left me. Ah! my castle, my Saxony, my willow wood. Evenings, mornings, nights, days…How weary I am!
    I should have my hell for anger, my hell for pride,–and the hell of laziness; a symphony of hells.
    I die of lassitude. It is the tomb, I go to the worms, horror of horrors! Satan, you fraud, you would dissolve me with your charms. I insist. I insist! a thrust of the pitchfork, a drop of fire.
    Ah! to rise again into life! to cast our eyes on our deformities. And that poison, that kiss, a thousand times accursed! My weakness, the cruelty of the world! My God, pity, hide me, I behave too badly!–I am hidden and I am not.
outsider
Likewise, this song brings to mind the opening paragraph of The Outsider, a lonesome short story written by H. P. Lovecraft in 1921:
 .
Unhappy is he to whom the memories of childhood bring only fear and sadness. […] Such a lot the gods gave to me—to me, the dazed, the disappointed; the barren, the broken. And yet I am strangely content, and cling desperately to those sere memories, when my mind momentarily threatens to reach beyond to the other.
.
Or later in the same tale where Lovecraft writes:
.
So through endless twilights I dreamed and waited, though I knew not what I waited for. Then in the shadowy solitude my longing for light grew so frantic that I could rest no more, and I lifted entreating hands to the single black ruined tower that reached above the forest into the unknown outer sky. And at last I resolved to scale that tower, fall though I might; since it were better to glimpse the sky and perish, than to live without ever beholding day.

The Minotaur in The Motel

Chris O’Leary on his fantastic blog Pushing Ahead of the Dame has already written an incredible write-up on “The Motel” and so I will present that in excerpts below:
 
“The Motel” opens in the lobby. Murmured conversations, barely heard over a duo playing in a corner of the room. A garrulous pianist, a secretive bassist. The latter plays a fretless bass […]. Nearly a minute in, Bowie wanders over from the bar, begins singing as if in mid-sentence. For we’re living in the safety zone…living from hour to hour down here. Everything’s provisional, wavering—chords oscillate between F and F-sharp, Bowie often shifts between singing A or B-flat notes. An interlude: synthesizer, Mike Garson’s querying piano, bass fills. Bowie continues: It’s a kind of living which recognizes…the death…of the odorless man…
“Its title suited it. A motel, especially the David Lynch-esque one Bowie’s checked into here, can be a purgatorial place, a shabby limbo (or, more fitting for Bowie’s past, a bardo, a vestibule between reincarnations; see “Quicksand”). Then drums kick in, cementing the song in 4/4, and Bowie sharpens his tone: There is no hell. There is no shame. It’s a (deliberate?) mishearing, an echo, of [Scott] Walker’s “there is no help,” in “Electrician.” Bowie conflates Walker’s line with something he’d recalled from his visit to Gugging Asylum: “THIS IS HELL,” scrawled on a wall in the murderer’s wing. There is no hell…like an old hell. The chorus expires with Bowie hitting his highest notes so far: “it’s LIGHTS UP BOYS.” He builds on his dual references: Lights up, boys: a body twisting in an electric chair; lights up, boys-–it’s not a bar’s closing time, but the morning, when the inmates are rousted from their beds.
“(This line recalls another story, one Walker may have known, if not Bowie: that Michelangelo Antonioni’s first film was to be shot in an asylum. Inmates were brought in, Antonioni put them into formation, was surprised at how well they took his requests, then he turned on his lights for a take. The inmates recoiled and convulsed on the floor. (“I have never seen such expressions of total fear on the faces of any actors…they started screaming, twisting, and rolling themselves over the floor….they tried desperately to get away from the light, as if they were being attacked by some kind of prehistoric monster.“) Antonioni abandoned the film, but the poet Anne Carson used it as a starting point years later, her poem offering that the inmates were only feigning their reactions so that they could roll around and try to kiss each other, stealing a moment of mass intimacy.)
“The entire sequence repeats. A new intro (Garson at his tackiest; he’s the hotel pianist from an old hell), a last verse where Bowie disdainfully rips up stage props, like he once did to the paper skyscrapers of his Diamond Dogs set (“we’re living in a SEA of SHAM“), another chorus. But now Bowie keeps surging, gaining strength, hitting a high E-flat as the song itself solidifies in E-flat major, while Reeves Gabrels slams in with distorted power chords. The lobby’s become a stage in an arena. We’re back at the close of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide,” a song that also had begun in obscurity and despair and which had climaxed in a Judy Garland moment. GIVE ME YOUR HANDS! RE-EXPLODING YOU!!! ‘COS YOU’RE WONDERFUL!! LIKE EVERYBODY DO!.
“And here “The Motel” faltered. Its lyric collapsed into gabble; its motion felt strained. It’s as if Bowie needed to have the song “pay off” in some way. This left “The Motel” in a curious state.  On Outside, “The Motel” is the blank at the center of the record. Sequenced between the battering “Hallo Spaceboy” and the jaunty “I Have Not Been to Oxford Town,” “The Motel” can seem like a seven-minute void. It seems actively hostile to the memory. I still don’t know what to make of it: sometimes I think it’s a latter-day flawed Bowie masterpiece, with a grisly beauty; other times, it can seem a failure […].”
.
While I find a lot to agree with here, I do find that this “seven-minute void” with all of its flaws (and not in spite of them) is a stunning accomplishment. Down here in this Motel, in this safety zone, where they live from hour to hour, one can pretend at times that its not all really an asylum…a labyrinth. But it is. Yet, Bowie transcends it. He takes a path that  twenty years later leads us to Blackstar.
____________________________________________–>

photo by Tina Tyrell

I’m certain for many Rufus Wainwright could be considered an acquired taste. I have always adored how as an artist Wainwright allows himself to indulge fully in an operatic yet peculiar style that despite its fondness for pop and cabaret flourishes very often eschews any radio-friendly format but definitely reveals itself as the intensely intimate vision of a songwriter unlike any other. “Waiting For A Dream” comes from Want Two, the 2004 follow-up to the prior year’s Want One.
Both imbued by co-producer Marius de Vries with a baroque beauty that creeps between opulence and languor, these two records should truly be taken as one double record entitled Want, and to my mind this is Wainwright’s finest and most ambitious work. I loved Entertainment Weekly‘s Marc Weingarten description of the album as a “gorgeous meditation on emotional displacement.”
Concerning Wainwright’s talents and my appreciation of them, what first come to mind is his voice. I love how he confidently utilizes his queer voice as a fluid or a thick vapor; it’s something glutinous that can adhere to the rhythm when necessary but more often flows effortlessly through and around his song’s structures. This fluid, as opposed to being measured and then fastened to the length of a musical line as is so common among so many Singer/Songwriters.
illustration by Blake Loosli.

illustration by Blake Loosli.

 However, Wainwright truly has a talent for lyrical detail that revels in his own mind’s idiosyncrasies and his particular observations. With his music the droll, clever, vain, and eloquent fondle the romantic, sullen, and bored–all displaying itself through deadpan camp, poetic pathos, sumptuous melodrama, and above all honest confession. This is all to say I find his music to have personality. Using the lush “Waiting For A Dream” as an example, there is the line “You are not my lover, and you never will be, ‘Cause you’ve never done anything to hurt me” or the subtle variations and display of personality he uses for the three chorus-type structures of the song:
There’s a fire in the priory
And it’s ruining this cocktail party
Yesterday I heard they cloned a baby
Now can I finally sleep with me?
[…]
There’s a fire in the priory
And it’s ruining this cocktail party
Yesterday I heard the plague is coming
Once again, to find me
[…]
There’s a fire in the priory
And an ogre in the oval office
Once again we all will be so broken
Now can I finally sleep again?
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Beginning with his Oscar-winning 2007 film There Will Be Blood, and then again with 2012’s The Master, multi-Oscar-nominated writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson has worked with composer Jonny Greenwood to score his films. Greenwood perhaps is most known as the guitarist and all-around multi-instrumentalist for the phenomenal English art-rock group Radiohead. Greenwood’s scores for both of those films were rich in nuance and certainly “cinematic” but were generally focused on conveying an unsettling mood of tacit panic, melancholy, cynicism, and lurking neurosis (much like most of Radiohead’s body of work, which is not to say they share any similarities in terms of song structure or that these soundtracks could be taken as a stand-in for one of their records at all).
With Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film from 2014, Inherent Vice (an adaption of the Thomas Pynchon‘s postmodern, neo-noir, “shaggy-dog” detective novel published in 2009) The director turned to Greenwood for a score once more. Although this soundtrack retains the dense air of mystery and confusion from his earlier work, Greenwood here provides a much more melodic affair with a warm shimmer to it that compliments beautifully the sun-baked and smoked-soft mind of protagonist and private investigator “Doc” Sportello as he juggles his baffling caseload and rambles through the Los Angeles of spring 1970. This is not to say this is the novelty sound of a stoner comedy as it features dexterous orchestration that forms an ambiance of both charm and peril.

Inherent Vice inspired art by the legendary John Van Hamersveld.

For the majority of Jonny Greenwood’s pieces he recorded with London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. However, the selection here on this mix–“Amethyst“–is a dulcet solo of drones and acoustic guitar. I do find it lovely to hear some more organic work from a member of Radiohead as, although they continue to create complex albums with breathtaking music, they have increasingly experimented with angles and crowding their compositions with the glitch and twitch beats that technology can produce. I do make that statement based on 2011’s The King Of Limbs, as I have not listened to their fresh release–A Moon Shaped Pool–and am awaiting the physical release later in June.
InherentVice
Amethyst, for those interested, is the little daughter of Hope and Coy Harlingen, two characters entangled into the knotted plot of Inherent Vice.
___________________________–>

Eno in the studio, 1973

Despite being a longtime and enormous admirer of David Bowie, Roxy Music, and U2‘s own “Berlin era” of the early Nineties (Achtung BabyZooropa) I have only very recently begun to listen to the solo work of incredibly talented and self-described “non-musician” Brian Eno. I am astounded.
Eno’s LP of 1975 Another Green World was released one year prior to when he began his working relationship with David Bowie on the masterpiece Low, and you can hear the germ of a lot of the “treatments” and the idea of “recording studio as instrument” he brought to his collaborations with Bowie and Tony Visconti: the stress on texture and timbre when assembling fragments of avant-pop, the compression, the gossamer drift of a wearied wreckage that also colors the majority of Eno’s later conceptual art projects, the aural flotsam and jetsam. Although this album does prominently dwell in a pliable terrain where the numerous facets reveal themselves through gentle revolutions I do not want to imply that this is an apathetic affair of audio-wallpaper. Another Green World swells with enthusiasm and creativity, but it does require the listener’s immersion into its gorgeous tones.
The songs trawl through layers that squirm like bacteria busy reproducing. Woodblock-like clicks punctuate guitar echoes, strained organs, minimal drones, and tumbles of piano. There is restraint and space, but there are moments where the ruminative temperaments abruptly bounce off their contradictions to tickle like folk and pop, or blister like synthesized soul–all before they disappear altogether. There are moments where you don’t even notice as the dense tapestry has been tossed to dissolve in saltwater tides.

Northern Sea. water color by Peter Schmidt , 1979.

 .
During the months of July and August 1975 Eno and co-producer/engineer Rhett Davies recorded Eno (who plays the majority of what you hear) and guest musicians (like John Cale,  Robert Fripp,  Brian Turrington, and Phil Collins) at a studio in Notting Hill, London. These sessions were then used and chopped to create loops, tape delays, and otherwise “treated” to create the distinctive song structures and sonic ambiance you can hear on this record. Additionally, all this was achieved with the use of the Oblique Strategy cards (subtitled Over One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmas), which Eno had developed with German/Jewish artist and friend Peter Schmidt. (These cards can now be physically purchased or there are numerous websites that recreate them like this one). They are printed with aphorisms like:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention
Bridges -build -burn
Make a blank valuable by putting it in an exquisite frame
 
 Idiot glee (?)
These cards are meant to encourage lateral thinking when met with creative blocks or when simply attempting keep a sense of amusement when tackling any art project. Eno once described these inspirational tools as such:
“These cards evolved from our separate observations of the principles underlying what we are doing. Sometimes they were recognized in retrospect (intellect catching up with intuition), sometimes they were identified as they were happening, sometimes they were formulated. They can be used as a pack (a set of possibilities being continuously reviewed in the mind) or by drawing a single card from a shuffled pack when a dilemma occurs in a working situation. In this case the card is trusted even if it appropriateness is quite unclear. They are not final, as new ideas will present themselves, and others will become self-evident.”
The song I present here is the penultimate one of the record and the last to feature vocals: “Everything Merges with the Night.”

From photographer Michelle Repiso film series “Everything Merges With The Night”

Beyond that phrase having such a lovely and evocative sentiment contained within it, I find the tune to be a true tranquil beauty. Sedate, wistful, but it wonderfully captures the addled mind of a figure who has been waiting by the shore for far too long. (I’ve read one reviewer who states that this song concerns “the romantic and social tensions of a Chilean Communist” following the death of Salvador Allende and the overthrow of a socialist government during a coup d’état unofficially supported by The United States and led by the Chilean Army Commander-in-Chief Augusto Pinochet on September 11, 1973).

Pinochet reviews troops inside the presidential palace in Santiago.

Another aspect of this song that I really love–with its gentle loll of psychedelia and exhaustion, its weird glamour, its ambiguous beauty–one can picture it as something Syd Barrett might have gone on to create if he hadn’t lost his marbles and been subsequently exploited for his mental illness. While I’m certainly not pointing fingers and I’m sure Barrett was increasingly difficult to deal with, my statement of “exploitation” stems from how I’ve always felt about the manner in which his solo work was recorded and then presented. For example, compare the false starts and studio chatter left in on his final records just as they were with another mentally ill and difficult recording artist, the brilliant Uruguayan songwriter Eduardo Mateo on his first solo record of 1972 Mateo Solo Bien Se Lame. While that record is superb, as are Syd Barrett’s The Madcap Laughs, Barrett (both 1970), and the compilation of unreleased material Opel,  I’ve always had a suspicion that these elements that are typically snipped out before pressing a record were left to help project that you are listening to an “iconoclastic maniac.”
 
 
Lester Bangs Coney Island. Roughly circa 1977 photo by Chris Stein: Blondie guitarist and co-host of public-access show, TV Party.

Lester Bangs Coney Island. Roughly circa 1977 photo by Chris Stein: Blondie guitarist and co-host of public-access show, TV Party.

In 1979 Lester Bangs (perhaps the greatest music critic there ever was and who in my opinion should just be celebrated as one of the “Great American Writers”–see his brilliant collection Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung) did extensive interviews with Eno that were meant to be the chapter Brian Eno: A Sandbox In Alphaville in a larger but unfinished book titled Beyond the Law: Four Rock ‘n’ Roll Extremists (the other three of the four were to be Marianne Faithful, Danny Fields, and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins).  
You can read the entire Eno section here, but below is an excerpt that I feel gives great insight into Brian Eno’s creative process and hints at the sense of wonder he retains when working on art–that feeling of play I’m sure we all shared as children but some seem to lose or forget when engaged and stressed by our creative endeavors:
 “It’s like a painter friend of mine says about when he starts working, ‘it nearly always starts off with me just wanting to play paints.’ It’s getting excited about a sound or a rhythm or something very straightforward, and pushing it along and saying ‘Well, what would happen if I did this or tried that and then that and that, and at some point this set of ingredients that you’ve combined in a fairly dabbling fashion suddenly produce an interaction that wasn’t predicted. That’s the point at which it starts to take off. because as soon as that point happens it starts to dictate its own terms. With the lyrics I have all these tricks and techniques which were first conceived as a way of defeating self-consciousness about writing lyrics, and because I don’t have anything to say in the usual sense. I prefer to let the music prompt something from me. See what that prompts and then examine it after the event. So what I do first is work on the track till its identity is fairly well established, I already know how its gonna sound in terms of textures and time and speed and all that, then I take all that home, a rough mix version of it and I just keep playing it very loud and just singing along with them just singing anything really, and sometimes that anything is just right for it. It’s the only thing I do, I guess, that approaches improvising, because everything else is very pedestrian in the way it’s made. What often happens is that I get an idea of how the words will fall and what their function be rhythmically, so I start singing or placing the syllables in a certain way, and they’re just nonsense at the beginning. Then certain types of sounds will emerge, like a particular vowel sound will suit a particular song. Like, for some reason, the vowel sound ‘i’ suited ‘Baby’s on Fire,’ it’s a sharp kind of thin sound; so then I’m working around two things, which is this vowel sound and this syllable construction, and quite soon words arise from that, and you only need to get about six words out of that for you then to have a good clue of what the song is going to be about. And I know it sounds extremely perverse whenever I explain it, to finally at the end of it all sit down and read it and say, ‘Ah, so that’s what it’s about.’ But what strikes me is that following this process, the preoccupations that manifest are not ones that you’re necessarily conscious of at any earlier point.”
.
Oh, if you’re still interested in hearing more from Eno here’s a really fantastic and good natured audio one of him being interviewed by genius writer Alan Moore on December 14th, 2004 for BBC Radio 4  show Chain Reaction.:

___________________________________________–>
We end this mix with the aforementioned “East” by the beautiful, loved and blessed artist Prince.
 
Why?
Because the sun also rises
and
THE WORLD DON’T END
Evening Star, acrylic on canvas by Peter Schmidt , 1972.

Evening Star, acrylic on canvas by Peter Schmidt, 1972.

 
_____________________________________–>ENJOY YOURSELF_________
———————————–___BOBBY CALERO___________————-
If you dig the mix then please feel free to pass & post it along; if you dig an artist then please support them and go out and pick up some of their stuff.

A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS: DENDRITES (VOL. 13)

If you dig the mix then please feel free to pass & post it along; if you dig a particular artist then please support them and go out and pick up some of their stuff.

—  –   ————-______________

_           _________________   _  ___   _ _________ __________

At the time most music placed before her demographic as if a water dish was likely either a permitted and voluntary caricature of some ethnicity insistently listing their abundance of “strut and trade of charms/On the ivory stages” (as Dylan Thomas once put it); or only a more marketable rendition of yesterday’s latest underground scene and sound only now featuring trim, young, white men, glum in clean but rugged garments whining inconsiderately about girls and their own victimhood through a cold compress of sheet metal guitars and a firm verse-chorus-verse structure; or a costumed, European button-pusher simply content to get no more than an oblivious dance from a hormone-bleary crowd. Likewise there was the supposed hybrid: the novel blend of rap’s sing-song aggression with the puerile roar and motorized hoof of heavy rock, now down-tuned and bled of melody, delivered by chubby drop-outs that spent their tax-returns on new tattoos and hair-gel. In eight years time they could release their disintegration diaries, which would detail where the money was wasted, divorce, divorce, and how they overcame their dependence on Jägermeister mixed with stimulant thirst-quenchers. Then there was as a matter of course the ubiquitous discount product of synchronized teens; boys and girls grouped by what would have the most appeal on a poster. Many of their songs were sold exclusively through one burger franchise or various other thawed meat meal abattoir by-product outlets. With frosted tips and tart pastry appearance, some cleavage and practiced discotheque choreography—they had all undergone a cosmetic reduction of particulars to leave them propped up perfectly on the tedious axis of human symmetry. These units were always either sliding towards the camera through ballads drenched in warm milk and corn or performing a fastened pounce and jerk in unison to up-tempo pop-tunes with themes of puppy love that just might drop a hint or two to their pubescent audience about what pleasures await them: various configurations of hands, mouth, anus, scrotum, penis, ass, labia, clitoris, breasts, and vagina.

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DENDRITES CVR 13

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Paint It Black – Africa

Rasta Man Chant – Bob Marley & The Wailers

That’s It For The Other One: (Cryptical Envelopment/Quadlibet For Tender Feet/The Faster We Go, The Rounder We Get/ We Leave The Castle) – Grateful Dead

Git Up – Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Isfahan - Duke Ellington

Isfahan – Duke Ellington

La Mama Vieja – Eduardo Mateo [Mama Vieja y Gramillero by Guillermo Schenk, 2014]

Tondero/Secuencias de organillo y poliphon/El mundo revivido – El Polén (ft. Susana Baca)

In A Sentimental Mood – Duke Ellington and John Coltrane

In My Own Dream – Karen Dalton

Moons And Cattails – Linda Perhacs

Envelops The Bath Tub/Take Your Clothes Off – Frank Zappa & the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra

Uncle Remus – Frank Zappa (ft. George Duke) [for further reading: Lain Shakespeare’s essay for The Wren’s Nest museum, Everything You’ve Heard About Uncle Remus Is Wrong, part. 1; part. 2; part. 3; part. 4; part. 5].

Le Roi Des Mouches Et La Confiture De Rouse (The King of the Flies and the Rose-Colored Jam) – Jean-Claude Vannier

Sweet Dreams/Psychomodo – Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel

Elijah – Alela Diane

Let Me Hear It From You – Sly & The Family Stone

Theme II – Miles Okazaki (w/ with Dan Weiss, Christof Knoche, Jon Flaugher, David Binney)

______________———-___=========================================  __=

A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS: DENDRITES (VOL. 13)

  • Paint It Black – Africa
  • Rasta Man Chant – Bob Marley & The Wailers
  • That’s It For The Other One: (Cryptical Envelopment/Quadlibet For Tender Feet/The Faster We Go, The Rounder We Get/ We Leave The Castle) – Grateful Dead
  • Git Up – Dirty Dozen Brass Band
  • Isfahan – Duke Ellington 
  • La Mama Vieja – Eduardo Mateo 
  • Tondero/Secuencias de organillo y poliphon/El mundo revivido – El Polén (ft. Susana Baca)
  • In A Sentimental Mood – Duke Ellington and John Coltrane
  • In My Own Dream – Karen Dalton
  • Moons And Cattails – Linda Perhacs
  • Envelops The Bath Tub/Take Your Clothes Off – Frank Zappa & the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra
  • Uncle Remus – Frank Zappa (ft. George Duke) 
  • Le Roi Des Mouches Et La Confiture De Rouse (The King of the Flies and the Rose-Colored Jam) – Jean-Claude Vannier
  • Sweet Dreams/Psychomodo – Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel 
  • Elijah – Alela Diane
  • Let Me Hear It From You – Sly & The Family Stone
  • Theme II – Miles Okazaki (w/ with Dan Weiss, Christof Knoche, Jon Flaugher, David Binney)

<^>_ _ _ __=========================================     ______BOBBY CALERO

If you dig the mix then please feel free to pass & post it along; if you dig a particular artist then please support them and go out and pick up some of their stuff.

A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS: DENDRITES (VOL. 7)

_ _____________________       _   _  _________________       _       _________________   _

It was not avoidance of some problem that she was advocating, but only a proper approach and perspective: understanding what truly was a problem and what was not. Where and when it could be found, she was for the compassion of laughter. Mireille pondered over the predominate perpetrators of violence on this planet and wondered if the males’ faculty for a certain aspect of acceptance had been frustrated and underdeveloped. Perhaps “acceptance” wasn’t the word she wanted, for enough of them seemed to be in love with a fallen world. No, maybe it was “reception,” or “tolerance,” or some other such word having to do with communication?

She couldn’t find it then but regardless questioned, “why not then let these thoughts inform and foster some work of art: a painting; song; or stand-up routine? At the very least they should let us laugh as they pass on by.” She believed that too few artists are encouraged in our world, and their work too quickly inspected for external utility or market potential. Comedians are poked to placate our revulsion. Our role as creator is repressed and in its stead we labor over cruel acts. “It’s like we’re prohibited from changing anything, really.” Beholden to a moribund heritage, we suffer in the name of habit and being consistent; “…being practical…but…practical for whose protocol? Don’t ask, you’ll suffer more.” We suffer for order.

For order we suffer.

“We are held hostage in someone else’s head…and in the end…and in our own. Regret will only get you ugly in the end.”

        She considered the device currently slipped within a little zippered pocket inside her purse: plastic, glass, semiconductor chips of silicon, and rare earth minerals molded and arranged into a slim rectangle of circuit boards and a touchscreen with a friendly graphic user interface…”a friendly gooey.” Contemplating all it was capable of—all of its known, numerous applications, the ones she hasn’t figured out yet and the ones she didn’t care to—she asked herself:

“We’re already living in the future…aren’t we? …Or as far as this future is gonna go, really. From here-on-out and for awhile now it’s all just restatements of a theme. Sure with a few innovative variations and tempo changes thrown in to keep us back-slap-smiling, ‘gee–whiz, how neat, this cutting-edge changes everything! Science will save us!’ But, shouldn’t we be somewhere else. Shouldn’t we be building biodegradable citadels for music, poetry, or, hell, a cathedral for aromatherapy…anything else really? All I see is thinner televisions. All I see are more heads bowed towards screens.

“Geez-Louise, I sound like an old lady…’back in my day we didn’t have all these fancy smellular phones and wifi-telebones, we had to use a drum!’…but…Shouldn’t we be busy with some other great work by this point? Why do we all feel excused from this? Why are so many of us excluded from this?

“Didn’t they tell us so long ago that we’ll be taking it easy from here-on-out? Aren’t they still selling that line?” For far too long now we’ve been trapped in this false landscape of muscles and dollars, this unsustainable sham of a one-way line stretched unhindered towards infinite and plastic futures—attributed to Darwin, healthy competition, and hard-earned progress. “Everything always backed by Darwin.” All those that suffer or benefit from the drought and locusts of a debt market so that a ham and cheese sandwich wrapped in cellophane might exist on some chain-restaurant’s theme-park counter could always seek solace, dismissal, and script in the arms of Saint Darwin. She felt sad for all those slighted people with Holy Daddy and/or Holy Mommy issues: who smugly announce themselves as atheists; who declare with a moral superior air, “I believe in science.”

“Yeah…well who doesn’t?”

_ _____________________                        _________________            _________________   _

Dendrites 7 CVR

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Zeno’s Law Of High-Heeled Shoes – Jim Carroll

Numbers – FKA Twigs

Rich – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Forty Days & Forty Nights – Muddy Waters

Every Season – Tony Allen (ft. Damon Albarn & Ty)

Wonderwall To Be Here – George Harrison

Lost In The Woods – The Afghan Whigs

The One-Eye Two-Step – The Blackbyrds

Me And The Devil – Gil Scott-Heron (Robert Johnson cover)

The Water – BLKHRTS

Misbehave/She Might Get Shot – Juan Wauters

Cocaine Habit Blues – Memphis Jug Band featuring Hattie Hart [Art by: Robert Crumb]

Yassassin (Long Live) – David Bowie

Ysabel’s Table Dance – Charles Mingus

Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys – Equals

Breed – Nirvana

She Said She Said – The Beatles

When Your Number Isn’t Up – Mark Lanegan Band

Good God’s:// Urge! – Porno For Pyros

I Know We Could Be So Happy Baby (If We Wanted to Be) – Jeff Buckley (TheSpaceBubbles mix)

Farewell, Angelina – Bob Dylan (Bringing it All Back Home outtake) [photo by Jerry Schatzberg]

Niña – Eduardo Mateo [photo by Francesca Woodman]

My translation, feel free to comment if youv’e got a better one:

Little girl that always has a light
showing you what you do not want.

Do not fear the birds
if they say your life with their trills.

It should be that you understand;
that’s why what comes next is what has gone.

Always in a white dress,
you go but beware;

The devils in the guise of angels
will notice you talking.

Does it shame you that you don’t care
what has been soiled?

Yuu…yu-le-lé yu-lé.

….===================================  ======== == =    ==    =    = – __

_ _ _ __=========================================     ______
A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS: DENDRITES (VOL. 7)
  • Zeno’s Law Of High-Heeled Shoes – Jim Carroll
  • Numbers – FKA Twigs
  • Rich – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Forty Days & Forty Nights – Muddy Waters
  • Every Season – Tony Allen (ft. Damon Albarn & Ty)
  • Wonderwall To Be Here – George Harrison
  • Lost In The Woods – The Afghan Whigs
  • The One-Eye Two-Step – The Blackbyrds
  • Me And The Devil – Gil Scott-Heron (Robert Johnson cover)
  • The Water – BLKHRTS
  • Misbehave/She Might Get Shot – Juan Wauters
  • Cocaine Habit Blues – Memphis Jug Band featuring Hattie Hart
  • Yassassin (Long Live) – David Bowie
  • Ysabel’s Table Dance – Charles Mingus
  • Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys – Equals
  • Breed – Nirvana
  • She Said She Said – The Beatles
  • When Your Number Isn’t Up – Mark Lanegan Band
  • Good God’s:// Urge! – Porno For Pyros
  • I Know We Could Be So Happy Baby (If We Wanted to Be) – Jeff Buckley (TheSpaceBubbles mix)
  • Farewell, Angelina – Bob Dylan (Bringing it All Back Home outtake)
  • Niña – Eduardo Mateo

_ _ _ __=========================================     ______BOBBY CALERO

If you dig the mix then please feel free to pass & post it along; if you dig a particular artist then please support them and go out and pick up some of their albums.

A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS: EL AMBIENTE BIEN BABES Y BEAN DE URUGUAY: VOLUME 2

El Ambiente Bien Babes Y Bean de Uruguay Vol. II

Hello all, what follows is Volume 2 of two very special mixes I made upon returning from the motherlandUruguay. Truly, this was the best trip I’ve ever been on. Here I try to capture the atmosphere and sentiment of me and my wife’s experiences through the sounds we listened to while there, as well as with what I was inspired to dig up and look into upon our return.

I have come to realize that for the foreseeable future I simply will not have time to reproduce something akin to what I accomplished with the post for Volume 1. However, I feel that I must post this now with the season being just perfect for these tunes to be heard–as this two-volume mix is best enjoyed when under the warm sun; so be sure to break it out a few times over the course of the summer! If you enjoy any of the artists represented here I strongly encourage you to explore their work and lives further, as many remain relatively unknown outside of that wonderful little country nestled between the massive Brazil and Argentina, settled on the banks of a river as wide as a sea: Uruguay.

O, and don’t forget to revisit Volume 1, as they certainly work best together as a whole.

You can go directly to the download for Vol. 1 –(HERE)–

I am fairly confident that these two mixes are all you would require for the summer!

—–ENJOY YOURSELF!—- — –  EL AMBIENTE BIEN BABES Y BEAN DE URUGUAY: VOLUME 2

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A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS: EL AMBIENTE BIEN BABES Y BEAN DE URUGUAY: VOLUME 2

1)     Por Una Cabeza – Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra (2004)

2)     Momma Miss America – Paul McCartney (1970)

3)     Dame Tu Sonrisa Loco – Días de Blues (1972)

4)     Make Up Your Mind – Los Mockers (1966)

5)     So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star – The Byrds (1967)

6)     Una Forma de Arco Iris – Los Shakers (1968)

7)     Siempre Vas – El Kinto (1967)

8)     Ilusión – Opus Alfa (1972)

9)     Luna De Margarita – Devendra Banhart (2005)

10)   De Este Cielo Santo – Totem (1971)

11)   I’m In Great Shape/I Wanna Be Around/Workshop/ Vega-Tables – Brian Wilson (2004)

12)   La Mama Vieja – Eduardo Mateo (1971)

13)   Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale – Love (1967)

14)   Standard – Los Moonlights (1976)

15)   Negro – Totem (1972)

16)   Mejor No Hablar De Ciertas Cosas – Sumo (1985)

17)   Esa Tristeza – Diane Denoir & Eduardo Mateo (1971)

18)   The Scarecrow – Pink Floyd (1967)

19)   Adj Egy Percet – Sarolta Zalatnay (1972)

20)   Candombe Triste – Miguel Y El Comite (1971)

21)   Jacinta – Los Delfines (1970)

22)   She’s A Woman – The Beatles (1964)

23)   Si Solo Tuviera Tiempo – Sexteto Electronico Moderno (1969)

24)   Si Te Vas De Mi Pueblo – Eduardo Mateo & Reinaldo (1969)

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— A MixTape by A Mouthful of Pennies (Bobby Calero). Cover art by Keri Kroboth.  —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

1) Por Una Cabeza – Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra (2004) [snippet]

2) Momma Miss America – Paul McCartney (1970)

3) Dame Tu Sonrisa Loco – Días de Blues (1972)

4) Make Up Your Mind – Los Mockers (1966)

5) So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star – The Byrds (1967)

6) Una Forma de Arco Iris – Los Shakers (1968)

7) Siempre Vas – El Kinto (1967)

8) Ilusión – Opus Alfa (1972)

9) Luna De Margarita – Devendra Banhart (2005)

10) De Este Cielo Santo – Totem (1971)

11) I’m In Great Shape/I Wanna Be Around/Workshop/ Vega-Tables – Brian Wilson (2004)

12)   La Mama Vieja - Eduardo Mateo (1971) [art by agustin sciannamea, 2012]

12) La Mama Vieja – Eduardo Mateo (1971) [art by agustin sciannamea, 2012]

13) Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale – Love (1967)

14) Standard – Los Moonlights (1976)

15) Negro – Totem (1972)

16) Mejor No Hablar De Ciertas Cosas – Sumo (1985)

17) Esa Tristeza – Diane Denoir & Eduardo Mateo (1971)

18) The Scarecrow – Pink Floyd (1967)

19) Adj Egy Percet – Sarolta Zalatnay (1972)

20) Candombe Triste – Miguel Y El Comite (1971)

21) Jacinta – Los Delfines (1970)

22) She’s A Woman – The Beatles (1964)

23) Si Solo Tuviera Tiempo – Sexteto Electronico Moderno (1969)

24)   Si Te Vas De Mi Pueblo - Eduardo Mateo & Reinaldo (1969)

24) Si Te Vas De Mi Pueblo – Eduardo Mateo & Reinaldo (1969)

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—    —   –  —  —             –

 

Luna, R.I.P.

Luna, R.I.P.

Tio Julio, R.I.P.

Tio Julio, R.I.P.

———————-BOBBY CALERO———————————–  

A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS: EL AMBIENTE BIEN BABES Y BEAN DE URUGUAY: VOLUME 1

Hello all, what follows is Volume 1 of two very special mixes I made upon returning from the motherland: Uruguay. Truly, this was the best trip I’ve ever been on. Along with a little bit of background and history, here I try to capture the atmosphere and sentiment of me and my wife’s experiences through the sounds we listened to while there, as well as with what I was inspired to dig up and look into upon our return. By no means am I trying to bore anyone with vacation photos, nor is this a fully detailed account of any of the artists featured on the mix; for that matter, nor is this a thorough history of that wonderful little country nestled between the massive Brazil and Argentina, settled on the banks of a river as wide as a sea. It is, however, an attempt to communicate a certain vibration. Feel free to just press-play, sink in, and enjoy yourself.

Thanks,

Bobby Calero

P.S. I did the majority of the translations here, so don’t hesitate to chime in if you have a better suggestion, as knowing two languages is more automatic while translation itself is a slippery art form. Likewise, feel free to offer any information or corrections you might have on any of the various topics addressed here. Remember, in this (somewhat) instant field of self-publishing on a blog , there are no editors or proofreaders to rely on. —Enjoy!

[Note: This two-volume mix is best enjoyed when under the sun, so be sure to break it out a few times over the course of the summer!]

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ambiente volume 1

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A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS:

El Ambiente Bien Babes Y Bean de Uruguay: Volume 1

1) Let’s Go Away For Awhile – The Beach Boys (1966)

2) Sun King – The Beatles (1969)

3) Para Hacer Musica, Para Hacer – Miguel Y El Comité (1971)

4) Esa Tristeza – El Kinto (1968)

5)  No Puede Ser – Los Campos  (1972)

6)  Hermano Americano – Montevideo Blues (1972)

7) And I Love Her – La Fragua (2001)] [Snippet]

8) Valentine Day – Paul McCartney (1970)

9) Jacinta – Eduardo Mateo (1972)

10) Fields Of Joy – Lenny Kravitz (1991)

11) La Conferencia Secreta del Toto’s Bar/Mi Tía Clementina – Los Shakers (1968)

12) African Bird – Opa (1976)

13) Barnyard/Old Master Painter/You Are My Sunshine – Brian Wilson (2004)

14) Principe Azul – El Kinto (1968)

15) Fly – Nick Drake (1970)

17) Hombre – Eduardo Mateo &Verónica Indart (1969)

18) Norwegian Wood (Baguala) – La Fragua (2001)

19) 4th Time Around – Bob Dylan (1966)

20) Zamba De Mi Esperanza – Jorge Cafrune & Los Chalchaleros (1964/2000)

21) Gioco di Bimba – Le Orme (1972)

22) Siempre Caminar – Limonada (1970) [Snippet]

23) Luna de Margarita – Simón Díaz (1966)

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A MixTape by A Mouthful of Pennies (Bobby Calero).

Cover art and all personal photos by Keri Kroboth.

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Babes & Bean (1/29/13)

Babes & Bean (1/29/13)

[1)   Let’s Go Away for AwhileThe Beach Boys (1966)]

[…] something everyone in the world must have said at some time or another. Nice thought; most of us don’t go away, but it’s still a nice thought.”

—Brian Wilson (Linett, 2001).

One stunning facet from the warm gem that is The Beach Boys’ masterpiece Pet Sounds. It is physically impossible to be nervous about flying when wrapped in this sound.

Brian Wilson at the San Diego Zoo, February 15th, 1966. (Photo by George Jerman).

Composed and produced by Brian Wilson and given life by the finest musicians of The Wrecking Crew, with this tune the warts and worries of whole world can simply soften into a realm of tranquil sound. For some reason or another, this song always brings to my mind the Jim Carroll poem, Fragment: Little N.Y. Ode, from his 1973 collection, Living at the Movies. This work too comes across as a satisfied sigh:

Jim Carroll, June 22nd, 1979 (Photo by Michael Zagaris)

I sleep on a tar roof.

        scream my songs

                          into lazy floods of stars…

a white powder paddles through blood and heart

                                                                                     and

the sounds return

                                      pure and easy…

Ah, this city is on my side.

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Punta del Diablo

Punta del Diablo

[2)   Sun KingThe Beatles (1969)]

August 22, 1969, one month after recording “Sun King.” (photo by Ethan Russell and Monte Fresco).

Having received The Beatles Box Set as a Christmas gift from my wife, I flew to Uruguay with my brain fully saturated in what is truly some of the greatest music ever recorded. Here, sun-kissed and brylcreemed, we have one of John Lennon’s contributions to “the Long Medley” that concludes The Beatles’ final masterpiece, Abbey Road. It all feels so free and easy; its emphasis on breath and the simple pleasure that exists in the soft spaces in between perfectly captures a languid day in the seaside village of Punta del Diablo, located 185 miles east from the capital, Montevideo, and just under 27 miles from the Brazilian border.

Punta del Diablo

Punta del Diablo

Here on this mix I conclude the track with a jumble edit of Beatles’ scraps and others to break and segue…

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Entering a conceptual room by Uruguayan artist Luis Camnitzer (born 1937), on display at the Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales in In Parque Rodó, Montevideo. Here every object that would appear within the room, such as the rug, the curtains, and even the branches of a tree one would see outside a window are all plainly labeled within the empty room for you to fill in. Silly, simple, and great, I think.

Entering a conceptual room by Uruguayan artist Luis Camnitzer (born 1937), on display at the Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales in Parque Rodó, Montevideo. Here every object that would appear within the room, such as the rug, the curtains, and even the branches of a tree one would see outside a window are all plainly labeled within the empty room for you to fill in. Silly, simple, and great, I think.

A would-be Librarian in front of a conceptual bookcase

A  Librarian in front of a conceptual bookcase

[3)   Para Hacer Musica, Para HacerMiguel Y El Comite (1971)]

In 1969-1970, Miguel Livichich made his fame in Uruguay and throughout the rest of South America with the group El Sindykato (The Syndicate). However, by mid ’71, due to “differences” (primarily financial) Livichich left the group to quickly form another whose name held a certain allusion to the band he abandoned: El Comité (The Committee). Approaching the band Feeling Rock he made it immediately clear that he intended to be the leader:

“I told them, I want a band to join me, but we all work together […]

Accept, and we make a titanic effort. An aggressive launch. I do not

lie, in fifteen days we were recording the LP. It was pin, pin and we

were playing at all the dances. It was amazing working with Miguel

Y El Comité” (Lion Productions, 2011).

This new group consisted of Washington Pachetto on drums and percussion, dual guitars handled by Bengochea Piece and Jose Maria Sanguinetti, Gustavo Luján on bass, and Miguel Livichich himself as principal songwriter, lead vocalist, on guitar, and responsible for the congas—an essential element to the candombe beat (the traditional musical style of rhythm idiosyncratic to the Uruguayan region) which Miguel Y El Comité helped pioneer the fusion of with swinging pop and rock music fuzz. As with so many groups of this era, financial hardship, frustrated ambitions, and political persecution by a military dictatorship helped scatter and silence the band.

However, here is the opening track off their 1971 debut, in which they cut through the illusory fat of image and fads and declare what is and what is not necessary “to create music, to create…” (By the way, to my ears this stuff sounds like just about the best groove music that The Beastie Boys never got to lovingly crib).

You don’t have to go around in weird clothes

You don’t have to have Che’s books

You don’t have to have hair, or a beard

Nor smoke Ambientex

…To Create Music…

You must know an inverted chord

You must listen to a little John Sebastian

Do not sing in gringo, they don’t understand you

No matter how much you shout, shout, shout…

…To Create Music…To Create…

You don’t have to have thousand-dollar equipment

It’s your soul that must sound

What good is an imported guitar

If you don’t know what it is to tune it?

…To Create Music…To Create…

…To Create Music…To Create…

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The corner of Cerro Largo and Ciudadela in the Ciudad Vieja neighborhood of Montevideo.

The corner of Cerro Largo and Ciudadela in the Ciudad Vieja neighborhood of Montevideo.

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[4)   Esa Tristeza – El Kinto (1968)]

Here we have one of the finest songs by one of the finest groups this world has ever known. While, as exceptional as they were, a band like Los Shakers may have received a reputation as “the Uruguayan Beatles,” this was due to their adoption and adhesion to an Anglo style. Meanwhile, it is El Kinto that truly deserves that moniker for their spirit of innovation and reinvention. As early as 1966, while most groups sang in English, they were insistent upon composing songs in their native castellano rioplatense Spanish (the variant dialect spoken mainly in the areas in and around the Río de la Plata basin of Argentina and Uruguay) and El Kinto were the first group to integrate Uruguay’s native music of candombe with psicodelic rock, pop, and bossa nova.

Economic yet strange in style, El Kinto consisted of two primary composers: percussionist and vocalist Rubén Rada (perhaps Uruguay’s most celebrated musician), and brilliant guitarist and vocalist Eduardo Mateo (perhaps Uruguay’s most celebrated iconoclastic madman). Despite some personnel changes the group featured the amazing talents of Walter Cambón on lead guitar, Urbano Moraes on bass and vocals, and Luis Sosa on drums. By 1969, after Rada and Moraes amicably left the group to pursue other opportunities they were replaced by virtuoso percussionist Mario “Chichito” Cabral and bassist Alfredo Vita. When the group completely disintegrated by the early part of 1970, despite being celebrated by the Uruguayan counterculture as a musical phenomenon, El Kinto had never actually recorded an album or even released a single other than as the backing musicians for a few pop acts. Oddly enough, all existing recordings of this group were quickly done so to play behind the group as they mimed a performance on the live, music television show Discodromo. Luckily, each appearance on the program allowed another opportunity to record, and so we have the roughly twenty tracks associated with the group today.

Esa Tristeza” (That Sadness), a Eduardo Mateo composition sung by him and recorded in June of 1968, features such a peculiar, fluid shuffle that lilts along with some of the most poetically haunting lyrics I’ve ever heard:

That Sadness

That sadness that you have

Comes from a tired face

Comes from open hands

From hands that have escaped

From hands that have escaped

That sadness that hangs

Where your hair ends

Comes from a sea that has dried-up

While you dreamt desires

While you dreamt desires

You Think, You Go On And Think

I know very well what you have

There is in your life a past

Dust that the wind does not carry

Are your bad memories

Are your bad memories

You Think, You Go On And Think

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Somewhere along the street Sarandí in Ciudad Vieja.

Somewhere along the street Sarandí in Ciudad Vieja.

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My wife and I with several generations of my Facal family

My wife and I with several generations of my Facal family (Tio Julio, R.I.P.).

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[5)   No Puede SerLos Campos  (1972)]

Los CamposNaturaleza Viva (1972).

This lovely, harmony-driven slice of psyche-pop is the opening track to Los Campos’ (The Fields) second (and, unfortunately, last) LP: Naturaleza Viva. I believe the album’s title is supposed to be a play on words, but attempting to translate it hurts my head. Essentially, it is the opposite of a “still life,” as in a painting. The musicians (Julio César Arostegui on lead vocals and organ, Juan Gadea on lead guitar, Enrique Machado on rhythm guitar, Gustavo Musto on bass, and Pedro Robaina on drums) come together to create a seamless groove that is made all the more buoyant by the charming chant of the female vocal choir (Mariela Avellanal, Rosario Berro, Alicia Dandreis, and Silvia Richi).

The whirling tone of the Gadea composed “No Puede Ser” (It Cannot Be) works nicely against the distressed sentiment of the song—one likely shared by many South Americans (particularly artists and intellectuals) living under the austere depravity of a military dictatorship, where expatriation seemed to be the only viable solution to poverty, prison, or even death:

“No! I don’t want to go. I want to sing, in my country. It Cannot Be!”

            Los Campos were rather successful, touring the whole interior of the country throughout 1972 with the full band, choir, light machines, and projectors (Peláez, 2004)—all culminating in a large year-end concert accompanied by a twenty-piece orchestra at Teatro Solis, Montevideo’s opera house (built in 1856 it is also Uruguay’s oldest theater).

El Teatro Solis sandwiched between two newer structures.

El Teatro Solis sandwiched between two newer structures.

The entrance steps to Teatro Solis

The entrance steps to  Teatro Solis

In late 1973, however, in a story that is sadly repeated over and over with these bands, unable to sustain a career at home Los Campos traveled to Europe to perform in Spain, France, and Switzerland, but soon broke up in 1974.

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The House of Remote Control, located somewhere in the Centro neighborhood of Montevideo

The House of Remote Control, located somewhere in the Centro neighborhood of Montevideo

One of the pieces up for the DOGMA group show—featuring artists Javier Abreu, Julia Castagno, and Ernesto Rizzo—on display at the more subversive Subte museum, located underground, underneath the Plaza del Entrevero, on18 de Julio Ave, Montevideo.

One of the pieces up for the DOGMA group show—featuring artists Javier Abreu, Julia Castagno, and Ernesto Rizzo—on display at the more subversive Subte museum, located underground, underneath the Plaza del Entrevero, on 18 de Julio Ave, Montevideo.

[6)  Hermano AmericanoMontevideo Blues (1972)]

Gastón “Dino” Ciarlo

Dino first came to prominence in the Uruguayan music scene as a DJ on Radio Ariel and with the beat group Los Gatos as well. On the weekends of his youth my father would attend dances where Dino served as the DJ, always spinning the latest in rock‘n’roll and candombe-beat. After a brief stint of releasing candombe-inflected pop singles himself and an LP as a solo artist in 1969 and the early 70’s, Dino was looking to abandon both his solo career and his legendary radio show La Tenaza (which tended to feature music by Bob Dylan, Cream, Ray Charles, and others like that). He knew that to accomplish the experimental musical ideas he had rolling around in his head for quite some time now he required a full band skilled in the diverse sounds of traditional Uruguay folk music. Dino searched for a band in order to “[…] fuse the rawness of rock music with obscure native rhythms like malambo, milonga and chamarritta […]” (Tornatore, 2007).

“The tropicalismo of Brazil made us realize that we had work

to do with our own national music traditions”

—Dino (Tornatore, 2007).

In 1972 he found just the group to accomplish this with—Montevideo Blues: Eduardo “Pocho” Díttamo (guitar and backing vocals); Néstor Barnada (guitar and backing vocals); Horacio “Niño” Costa (bass); Julio César “Lelo” Surraco (percussion); and José “Pepe” Martínez Díaz (drums). In addition to this “folk-rock” sound, this album features extremely incisive, political and socially conscious lyrics—particularly for a time when it was a true danger to do so. Like many at the time, Dino had been growing increasingly politicized, intensely so with his compositions. During his concerts of ’71 he would often pause in the middle of the show to read the Acts of Parliament, only to afterwards declare, “You realize that these guys are a bunch of liars!” (Tornatore, 2007).

Around this time—as the economy was collapsing, labor and student movements were holding demonstrations and strikes, and the left-wing urban guerilla group the Tupamaros were fighting the government in a struggle for equality and justice for the people—the government followed the example of so many other South American countries and declared a police state. In June 1968, President Jorge Pacheco, trying to suppress unrest, enforced a state of emergency and repealed all constitutional rights. The government began a program of imprisoning political dissidents (often secretly), used torture during interrogations, and brutally repressed demonstrations (Nahum, 1991).

Flag of the Tupamaros National Liberation Movement

By 1972 the majority of the Tupamaros had been either killed or were imprisoned under horrifying conditions where they would remain for well over a decade. In July of 1973, despite the deteriorated threat posed by the suppressed political dissidents, the government under Juan María Bordaberry dissolved parliament and ceded government authority over to the military, under whose auspices he remained as the first in a series of military approved presidents.

“President” Juan María Bordaberry

This bloodless coup led to further repression and the suppression of all political parties. The following month, the Tupamaros formed the Revolutionary Coordinating Junta with other leftwing groups pursuing urban guerrilla warfare in South America. This all soon led to Operation Condor, in which the military regimes in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, and Bolivia all cooperated to repress, kidnap, torture, and kill intellectuals, socialists, and others deemed opponents. “Conservative estimates suggest a minimum of 60,000 people were ‘disappeared’ during Operation Condor […] and countless more were imprisoned and tortured” (Olle, 2012).

Upon their release from imprisonment after the collapse of the dictatorship in the late 80’s, many of the former guerrillas banded together to form a political party, which in recent years has won all of the elections and are now the progressive head of the Uruguayan Government. On March 1, 2010 former Tupamaro José “Pepe” Mujica—who spent 14 years in a military prison (two of those confined at the bottom of a well)—took office as President of Uruguay. On March 5th of 2010 former president Bordaberry was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his involvement in 1976 political assassinations. Prior to that, on October 22, 2009, another former Uruguayan president/dictator, Gregorio Conrado Álvarez was sentenced to 25 years in prison for 37 counts of murder and human rights violations (BBC, 2009).

President José “Pepe” Mujica

However, back in 1972 when Dino and Montevideo Blues were recording their sole album there was little hope in sight. Dino felt that this situation needed to be addressed in their music:

We follow the course of history, the history of those who suffer

from economic situations. And I say to you that I have been

hungry, and cold, and have had problems trying to buy a liter of

milk for my children. Yet the creators of the problems continue

to promise a better future: “within six months, we are going to see

 an improvement,” “this year no, but next year yes, dear compatriots,”

and so on throughout history. The fault is always placed on the

international markets, and never on the bad economic conditions

that lead to social disasters; the blame is always placed upon

pensioners, teachers, health care workers, and of course, it is

always the fault of the left…When a musician or a composer

looks around and sees how his brothers live, he puts it in a song

—Dino (Tornatore, 2007).

Before Dino even commences with the declarative holler of his vocals “Hermano Americano” (American Brother) immediately demands the attention of your spinal column and shoulder muscles with its frenetic eddies of guitar that ripple around the percussive, clipped gallop of the rhythm and the corpulent bounds and burrows of the bass. This pace soon all give way to the weight of a rasped, surreal monologue over a jazz riff, wherein a child’s nightmare coalesces into the horror of bureaucracy and corruption that plague the world of adults. Another element of this song that I love is that it does not address the U.S. with blind ire, but with a moral superiority that serves to condemn and shame American arrogance. Here, Dino and Montevideo Blues wag their finger at the greasy muscle and appetite of the United States, and with good reason. All of the South American dictatorships were put into place not only with the U.S.’ support, but actual involvement.

Dan Mitrione

On July 31st of 1970 the Tupamaros kidnapped one Daniel A. Mitrione who had been serving under the Nixon administration as a United States government advisor for the Central Intelligence Agency in Uruguay. Mitrione, who was once quoted as having said, “The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect” (Patar, 2001) had been sent to Uruguay to instruct the police force there on effective torture techniques. It is said that “Mitrione had built a soundproofed room in the cellar of his house in Montevideo, in which he assembled selected Uruguayan police officers to observe torture-technique demonstrations” (Hevia Cosculluela, 1981). Allegedly, these demonstrations were conducted upon vagrants picked up off the street who were executed once the lesson was over. The Uruguayan government, with the United States backing, refused to meet the Tupamaros’ demands and Mitrione was later found dead in a car. Other than the two fatal gunshot wounds to his head, there was no other signs of maltreatment; he had not been tortured.

Art on the street Sarandi.

Art on the street Sarandi.

Hermano Americano” (American Brother)

American Brother

American Brother, this is for you

American Brother

American brother, remember

That the owner of the world is not the strongest

But the one that is right

The pirates

Have a thousand frigates

Pointed sabers,

They always wear neckties,

They have hair on all their feet,

Heads of the dead,

and long hands.

The Pirates are all made of glass

And many get scared when

They talk of the town

Once they have retired

All they do

Is run for Deputy

American Brother

American Brother, this is for you

American Brother

American brother, remember

That the owner of the world is not the strongest

But the one that is right

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La Leyenda performing their murga at the Teatro De Verano (Feb. 8, 2013)]

La Leyenda performing their murga at the Teatro De Verano (Feb. 8, 2013)

La Leyenda performing their murga at the Teatro De Verano (Feb. 8, 2013)

La Leyenda performing their murga at the Teatro De Verano (Feb. 8, 2013)

[7) And I Love HerLa Fragua (2001)] [Snippet]

Originally Released in June of ’64 as a 7” single.

Just a snippet of the Argentinean band La Fragua’s rendition of Paul McCartney’s beautifully stark opening phrase to The Beatles “And I Love Her.” While in our apartment in the Pocitos beach area of Montevideo (generously lent to us by my amazing aunt and uncle in Australia) I nearly immediately turned the dial to 97.1 and tuned in to discover the wonderful public radio station Babel, which plays classical, Jazz, and a vast array of “folk” music from around the world: everything from bossa nova to Tibetan throat singing! Babel remained the only stationed I listened to the entire time I was there in the capital, and one of the many groups it turned me on to was La Fragua.

Formed in Bariloche, which is situated in the foothills of the Andes on the southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake in Argentina, La Fragua perform remarkable covers of The Beatles tunes by incorporating the folkloric instrumentation and traditional styles of South America—here you can watch them perform a fun rendition of  “Yellow Submarine as a Chamamé (a sort of Argentinean Polka).

Anyway, the reason here for including only a snippet (other than time constraints) of “And I Love Her” is that this musical phrase was utilized during one of the more placid segments (of which there were very few) of the hilarious Murga we saw performed by the group La Leyenda (pictured above) at the Teatro De Verano, an outdoor amphitheater in which a major portion of the Carnaval concerts are held. A type of theatre, murga operates as a sort of “cultural therapy” in which competing groups prepare a 45-minute long musical play consisting of costume changes and a suite of songs that address (often hysterically) current events and “hot topics” in Uruguay or elsewhere over the preceding year, such as racism, the legalization of marijuana, gay-marriage, and reckless drivers (a true hazard in Montevideo).

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Fuente de los Candados, where lovers leave an inscribed lock

Fuente de los Candados.

"The legend of this young fountain tells us that if a lock with the initials of two people in love is placed in it, they will return together to the fountain and their love will be forever locked."

“The legend of this young fountain tells us that if a lock with the initials of two people in love is placed in it, they will return together to the fountain and their love will be forever locked.”

Poster hung up at Bar Los Beatles in Montevideo

Poster hung up at Bar Los Beatles in Montevideo

[8) Valentine DayPaul McCartney (1970)]

McCartney

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After spending the live-long-day walking along the beach and through the town of Punta del Diablo, eating empanadas and fresh seafood, we spent the evening on our deck watching the shore, talking, and (accompanied by some Fernet Branca and liters of Cerveza Patricia) doing a little tipsy boogie-woogie to this and other numbers off of Paul McCartney’s solo debut, McCartney, released in April of 1970.

Playing every instrument himself (although his wife Linda does add the occasional backing vocal), McCartney’s impeccable knack for the interplay of rhythm with vertical melodies is here applied to a rough-recorded and ramshackle patchwork of pop, blues, rock & roll, country, funk, and folk. Odd, amusing, and never taking itself too seriously—this quick LP is a simple pleasure to listen to. Under appreciated—highly recommended.

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The streets of Colonia del Sacramento, the oldest town in Uruguay

The streets of Colonia del Sacramento, the oldest town in Uruguay

[9) JacintaEduardo Mateo (1972)]

A sweet bossa nova by a pure musician. By the time El Kinto had officially disintegrated in the early part of 1970 most of Mateo’s friends and associates were already convinced that he had gone completely insane. Despite the fact that these same people viewed him as a musical genius, they did not know what to make of his habits of disappearing for days at a time, either to lock himself up somewhere in a rented room to explore new realms on his instrument while searching for spiritual enlightenment through chemicals, or to wander the streets with nothing but pajamas and a guitar—there was always a guitar, a rare constant in this man’s unhinged life. Once, my uncle saw him walking the streets at night with one foot aligned with the curb, the other with the gutter, so that he was forced to maintain an awkward and drastic limp to his gait—how’s that for a metaphor?!

Speaking of this period in Mateo’s life, Uruguayan singer Verónica Indart had this story to tell:

“The last time I saw him was in the first years of the 1970s. I was

with Héctor, my husband, and Mateo arrived. He entered, he took

up the guitar, and he sat down to play by the window, looking at the

sea for a long while. We listened to him. When he finished, he got up,

he set down the guitar and he went out the door without a greeting.

That was Mateo. He arrived, gave us his music and went on without

greeting us, because it was not necessary” (Lion Production, 2006).

In 1971, for those who were fortunate to have heard Mateo play there was no doubt of that man’s overwhelming talent—mental illness or not; however, beyond a handful of tracks there existed little recorded evidence of it. This would soon change due to the influence of talented singer Diane Denoir, and through the dedication and passion of producer Carlos Píriz. Píriz, a recording technician who had worked for the live, music television show Discodromo had recently started the record label De la Planta along with Jorge “Coyo” Abuchalja, guitarist for the group Los Delfines. The ethos behind this venture was to maintain a Uruguayan label that was dedicated to Uruguayan musicians, providing them with better production, recording techniques, and better distribution than the then norm. Fortunately, through Píriz’s connections, they were able to secure regular studio time at ION Studios in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the recording technology was far superior to that found in their native country (four tracks as opposed to two at most, for example).

Diane Denoir

In October of 1971 one such artist they chose to present to the public was the singer Diane Denoir. As she was recording a fair amount of Mateo’s material for her De la Planta debut, she felt it was only appropriate that the artist himself accompany her on some of the tracks. Having convinced Mateo to take the trip, Píriz quickly took advantage of the rare opportunity by persuading him to stay and record a solo LP for the label. However, in spite of Píriz’s optimistic plans to complete the recording in one week, he soon found that dealing with this erratic artist would be an ultimate test of endurance and patience.

            The sessions went like this: Mateo had an alphabetic notebook,

and stuck in each page he had bar napkins upon which his songs

were written. If he knew the first letter of the title of the song he

wished to play, he would find the correct napkin, which would help

him remember the melody, so that he could recreate the original idea

he had envisioned when he had composed the song in the first place.

            Remembering the songs was only the first obstacle […]. Mateo

would record songs one day, and erase them the next. “The first day

he recorded three or four things,” Píriz recalled. “The following day

he came in and said, ‘erase them. For Mateo, they are all wrong.’

We erased them. And that process of erasing the previous day’s work

continued for four or five days. At that moment, I understood that this

would be the system for the whole disc […]. I decided that I will be the

person who says what was well-recorded, or not, and I began to keep

all the material.”

    On other days, Mateo went to ION studios only to say that he was not

inspired, and would return the next day. Then there were the days that

he appeared at the studio, and asked, “What time do we record tomorrow?”

“The same as today, at four o’clock,” Píriz would say. “Okay I am going,

until tomorrow,” was Mateo’s only reply (Lion Production, 2006).

This whole arduous process continued for two months, until one day when Mateo said to the producer that he was stepping out of the studio to buy a pack of cigarettes, and never came back. He had returned to his streets in Montevideo. Píriz was left holding hours of recordings of these fragmented sessions—the only proof that Mateo had even been there. A labor of love, Píriz would then spend the better part of a year assembling these into the album that would be released in December of 1972: Mateo Solo Bien Se Lame.

One of the thirteen brilliant compositions that Píriz extracted from the chaos is the lovelorn “Jacinta.” Through his dedication, Píriz was able to capture on this record the complex sensitivity of this troubled artist. Seeing as how, other than a rare background vocal here and there, Mateo created every sound on this album himself, his essence truly shines through each composition. I particularly love the closing movements to this track, when the song suddenly shifts to a delicate chooga-chooga as the singer warns: “Hurry, the train is leaving.”

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A personal touch on a city bus.

A personal touch on a city bus.

[10) Fields Of JoyLenny Kravitz (1991)]

Each bus in the capital city of Montevideo tends to have some idiosyncratic feature, some personal touch that distinguishes it from others. This fact, coupled with their apparent cleanliness (you can typically find a bucket filled with cleaning supplies stuffed under one of the seats) led my wife and I to believe that each driver might actually own the bus he drives. In addition to the personal touches—such as a neon peace sign or a John Lennon poster—the drivers tend to play their own radio over the loudspeaker system. On one particular ride we took from the neighborhood of Pocitos to Ciudad Vieja the driver was rocking Lenny Kravitz’s sophomore album, Mama Said, released in April of 1991.

As this is the only Kravitz album that could accurately be described as brilliant (believe me, I own a good deal of them), and seeing as how I haven’t listened to it in about a decade—I was truly enjoying this ride: The bright, hot light of the sun piercing through the blue curtains while over the rumble of the engine the opening notes of acoustic guitar walk calmly alongside the slow psychedelic trill of a mellotron, falsetto vocals— “…All trouble slowly fades away…”—all mounting to an outburst of rock ‘n’ roll cut and crunch. Taut and diverse, on his follow up to his 1989 debut, Let Love Rule, Kravitz develops the catchiest elements of his influences (the obvious ones being Hendrix, Lennon, Sly Stone, Prince, and Al Green) but elevates what could have been mere revivalism and kitsch by focusing them through the various, fervent emotions and anguish churned up by the impending end of his marriage to actress Lisa Bonet, mother to his two-year-old daughter, Zoe.

Kravitz & Lisa Bonet with their daughter Zoe.

Kravitz & Slash

Impressively, Kravitz essentially functions as a one-man-band here on this album, playing nearly every instrument and even creating the horn and string arrangements. Opening track “Fields of Joy” is one of the rare exceptions, featuring the soaring, keen-edged and held bends of Slash’s guitar playing. “Fields of Joy” is also a rather peculiar choice to open the LP with, as it is a cover of a little remember group, The New York Rock Ensemble, who first released the song on their 1971 album Roll Over. This song in particular was co-written by the group’s organ and oboe player Michael Kamen who would go on to find fame as a composer for films such as Lethal Weapon, and the Die Hard movies. Another member of the group, Martin Fulterman, would later be known as Mark Snow, creating the theme music for several sci-fi television series such as The X-Files and Smallville. I wont go into what I believe went wrong with Kravitz, but I am sure that more than one of you must have rolled your eyes upon seeing his name. Swallowed whole by the cartoon menace of image and frivolous fads, I assure you that at one point he was fairly consistently recording some solid tunes.

Our "Fields of Joy"

Our “Fields of Joy”

This song certainly popped up in my head more than once while roaming on horseback, rounding up cattle and sheep on roughly 2,400 acres of land at the estancia, Panagea; a gaucho ranch located about an hour outside of Tacuarembó in the far north-central region of Uruguay (it is this area that Uruguayans believe was the birthplace to the world’s most celebrated figure of Tango, Carlos Gardel, an assertion that is still hotly contested by both France and Argentina, who both lay claim to him as a national son).

An old advertisement for yerba mate on display in one of those odd old galerías that run through the blocks surrounding the avenue 18 De Julio in the Centro area of Montevideo.

An old advertisement for yerba mate on display in one of those odd, dusty galerías that run through the blocks surrounding the avenue 18 De Julio in the Centro area of Montevideo.

Panagea is certainly one of the greatest places to be found on this green earth:

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"I was told when I grew up I could be anything I wanted: a fireman, a policeman, a doctor - even president, it seemed. And for the first time in the history of mankind, something new, called an astronaut. But like so many kids brought up on a steady diet of westerns, I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero - that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth, and justice. And in my heart of hearts I still track the remnants of that dream wherever I go, in my endless ride into the setting sun." - Bill Hicks

“I was told when I grew up I could be anything I wanted: a fireman, a policeman, a doctor – even president, it seemed. And for the first time in the history of mankind, something new, called an astronaut. But like so many kids brought up on a steady diet of westerns, I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero – that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth, and justice. And in my heart of hearts I still track the remnants of that dream wherever I go, in my endless ride into the setting sun.” – Bill Hicks

Real-deal gaucho & ranch-hand, Balinga.

Real-deal gaucho & ranch-hand, Balinga.

Owned and operated by Juan and his wife Suzanna—who together are a splendid combination of culture, dry-humor, and convivial conversation—this ranch offers one some first-hand (albeit clumsy hands in my case) experience of the no-frills yet pure-joy of the Gaucho culture. I implore all who read this to make an effort to visit this place and stay in their grand (albeit without electricity) home. It was here at Panagea that I also encountered this bit of wisdom, hand painted on a sheet of wood:

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Bar Los Beatles

Bar Los Beatles

[11) La Conferencia Secreta del Toto’s Bar/Mi Tía Clementina Los Shakers (1968)]

The phenomenal, Uruguayan musical siblings, the Fattoruso brothers (Hugo and Jorge Osvaldo), got their start as children playing in a jazz trio with their father. In 1964, however, upon hearing the music of The Beatles the brothers decided that this model was the direction they needed to take their music and image, and enlisted bassist Roberto “Pelin” Capobianco, and drummer Carlos “Caio” Vila to create Los Shakers. Singing original composition written in English, they developed into a pop-rock sensation that, like basically every other band in existence in the 60s, would follow the new musical leads established by each subsequent release by “The Fab Four.”

By 1968, as Osvaldo Fattoruso would later note, the band was “tired of playing at being the Beatles” (Zolov, 2011) and soon went their separate ways. “[Los Shakers’] dissolution marked the end of an era in which, for a brief period, English-language Uruguayan rock dominated the South American pop charts” (Zolov, 2011). However, they would first release their attempt, ala Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, at a psychedelic masterpiece: La Conferencia Secreta del Toto’s Bar  (The Toto’s Bar’s Secret Conference). During the recording of the album the group had already determined to dissolve, and thus abandoning commercial aspirations, they diversified their sound and added native rhythms to create a more original, organic musical sensibility modeled after the “strange” liberation of form The Beatles had demonstrated. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band had as great an impact on Latin American culture as it did throughout the rest of the world. As Ian MacDonald wrote in his exceptional track-by-track assessment of The Beatles’ output, Revolution In The Head:

When Sgt. Pepper was released in June [of 1967], it was a

major cultural event. Young and old alike were entranced. […]

In America normal radio-play was virtually suspended for

several days, only tracks from Sgt. Pepper being played. An

almost religious awe surrounded the LP. Paul Kantner of the

San Francisco acid rock band Jefferson Airplane remembers

how The ByrdsDavid Crosby brought a tape of Sgt. Pepper

to their Seattle hotel and played it all night in the lobby with a

hundred young fans listening quietly on the stairs, as if rapt by a

spiritual experience. “Something,” says Kantner, “enveloped the

whole world at that time and it just exploded into a renaissance.”

            The psychic shiver which Sgt. Pepper sent through the

world was nothing less than a cinematic dissolve from one

Zeitgeist to another. In The Times, Kenneth Tynan called it

“a decisive moment in the history of Western civilization,” a

remark now laughed at but nonetheless true, if perhaps not quite

in the way that it was intended. As the shock wore off, voices

from an earlier age began to complain that this music was

absolutely saturated in drugs. Not wishing to promote LSD,

the BBC banned “A Day In The Life” and “Lucy In The Sky

With Diamonds,” while others found drug references inn

Fixing A Hole” and “With A Little Help From My Friends.”

More Bizarrely, “She’s Leaving Home” was attacked by

religious groups in America as a cryptic advertisement for

abortion.

            While half these claims were spurious, it would be silly

to pretend that Sgt. Pepper wasn’t fundamentally shaped by LSD.

The Album’s sound—in particular its use of various forms of echo

and reverb—remains the most authentic aural simulation of the

psychedelic experience ever created. At the same time, something

else dwells in it: a distillation of the spirit of 1967 as it was felt by

vast numbers across the Western world who had never taken drugs in

their lives. If such a thing as a cultural “contact high” is possible, it

happened here. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band may not have

created the psychic atmosphere of the time but, as a near-perfect

reflection of it, this famous record magnified and radiated it around

the world (2007).

It’s easy to write-off La Conferencia Secreta del Toto’s Bar as a “Sgt. Pepper” rip-off but I could rattle off the top of my head a dozen renowned groups (The Rolling Stones, for one) that did the same, only not as convincingly or inventively as Los Shakers.

Che Guevara visiting with Uruguayan President Eduardo Victor Haedo at Haedo’s summer home in Punta del Este, Uruguay, Aug. 7, 1961. Che was sent to head Cuba’s delegation to the economic conference of the Organization of the Amercian States (OAS) at Punta del Este, Uruguay, where he denounced U.S. President Kennedy’s “Alliance for Progress.” (Click here to read the remarkably audacious, yet earnest speech that Che delivered on August 8, 1961 at Punta del Este: http://www.marxists.org/archive/guevara/1961/08/08.htm

Recorded shortly after the assassination of Argentine guerrilla revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara by Bolivian special forces trained, supported, and orchestrated by the CIA, the title track, “La Conferencia Secreta del Toto’s Bar”—which segues directly into the amusing, listless and ragged jazz waltz of “Mi Tía Clementina (My Aunt Clementine)—is “a sardonic retelling of the [January 31] 1962 meeting [in Punta del Este, Uruguay] that led to the expulsion of Cuba from the Organization of American States” (Zolov, 2011). Despite being a founding member of the OAS, following the Cuban Revolution of 1959 The United States had encouraged OAS representatives from South and Central America as well as the Caribbean country of Haiti to advocate a hard line against Cuba, which would eventually see Cuba suspended, denied the right of representation and attendance at meetings, and of any participation in activities.

Maybe I read it in a storybook/Maybe in a picture/beneath the author’s desk/There were three generals with little boots/Each one with a pocketful of medals/ […] /From London, Paris, Berlin, they went on holidays/They billed the kids from Uruguay/And stopped at San Rafael” —(San Rafael being a very popular hotel/casino in Punta del Este, which on February 18, 1969 would be robbed by members of the Tupamaros for a total of 70 million pesos).

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El desfile de llamadas, 2013

El desfile de llamadas, 2013:

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[12) African BirdOpa (1976)]

Opa: the Fattoruso brothers & Ringo Thielman

To demonstrate the sheer virtuosity of the Fattoruso brothers—soon after the dissolution of Los Shakers they moved to New York City and formed the latin-jazz fusion group Opa: featuring Osvaldo now on drums, percussion, and vocals; Hugo now handling vocals and keyboards; and Ringo Thielman on bass and vocals. Through their concerts during the early 1970s this exceptionally innovative trio caught the ear of Brazilian percussionist extraordinaire Airto Moreira (who helped color and create the sessions surrounding Miles Davis’ genius work on Bitches Brew, which was already featured in these pages, here.

Airto Moreira

Airto was so impressed with the fluid, musical camaraderie of Opa that he employed the group (along with his own wife, vocalist Flora purim, and guitarist David Amaro) to function as the band for his stunning 1973 LP Fingers.

Fingers line-up: Flora Purim, David Amaro, Airto Moreira, Hugo Fattoruso, and “Jorge” osvaldo

Essentially utilizing the same musical configuration (but adding Hermeto Pascoal on flute), Airto would then go on to produce and contribute to Opa’s only two LPs, 1976’s Golden Wings, and Magic Time, released in 1977.

A Rubén Rada composition recorded for Golden Wings (Rada himself would become a member of the group for their second LP), the sound of “African Bird” perfectly hints at the sensation of standing amongst the crowds on the street Isla de Flores, while watching the participants in the Llamadas parade their way through the neighborhoods of Barrio Sur and Palermo: the intricate rhythms of hundreds and hundreds of drummers marching while mammoth flags and banners pass over the throng of brightly costumed and bare-skinned dancers.

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The wife and I helping Juan Manuel and Balinga corral innumerable sheep so that they could receive their vaccines and treatment for hoof rot:

The wife and I at Panagea helping Juan Manuel and Balinga corral innumerable sheep and cattle so that they could receive their vaccines and treatment for hoof rot:

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Two works from the Pareja series (or Cosmic Couple series) by Uruguayan painter, potter, musician and key figure in the Constructivism Art movement: José Gurvich (January 5, 1927 – June 24, 1974).

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Sitting in the sunshine along Montevideo’s Rambla:

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SMILE

SMILE

[13) Barnyard/Old Master Painter/You Are My SunshineBrian Wilson (2004)]

It is generally understood that The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper was in part created in reaction to The Beach Boys’ brilliant and Brian Wilson directed LP Pet Sounds. In 1967, while deeply entrenched in an attempt to create an ambitious follow-up to that work, a 24-year-old Brian Wilson would suffer a severe and complete mental breakdown. This, along with conflict within the group would force them to abandon the project that Wilson had collaboratively conceived with lyricist Van Dyke Parks: SMiLE.

Wilson while recording the track “The Elements: Fire (Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow).”

Despite being envisaged as a “benchmark in the use of the studio as the ultimate instrument, […] the next step in the evolution of record production” (Leaf, 1990), in September of 1967 the world received in its stead the rerecorded scraps, Smiley Smile. While wholly enjoyable (and at times brilliantly weird) it is hard to disagree with Carl Wilson’s assessment of the album as “a bunt instead of a grand slam” (Carlin, 2006).

Astonishingly—thirty-six years after the project was aborted and after decades of arduous mental rehabilitation—in 2003 Wilson (along with Parks and Darian Sahanaja, keyboardist and backing vocalist in Wilson’s touring band, The Wondermints) decided to take on the daunting task of revisiting and completely rerecording the entire conceived album from memory!

Turn that frown upside down

The trio made subtle changes to the music when necessary,

and in the spring, Wilson headed to Studio One at Sunset

Sound in Los Angeles to make his record. Just as he’d made

the original “Good Vibrations” and “Heroes & Villains” there,

Wilson gathered his band, strings and brass to record the tracks,

cutting the basic arrangements live while doing the vocals on

the same tube consoles his old Beach Boys had (Leone, 2004).

The results, released in 2004 as Brian Wilson Presents Smile, is a stunning, intricate suite of songs that create a musical journey across a conceptual America, from east to west: beginning at Plymouth Rock and ending in Hawaii. Although exceedingly delayed, it certainly lives up to what Wilson ambitiously described in 1966 as “a teenage symphony to God” (Richardson, 2011). Perhaps weird on my part, but one of my favorite sections of this album has always been when the melodic cacophony of “Barnyard” thumps, plucks, and sways into a glum rendition of the American standard “You Are My Sunshine.”

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Me with my cousin’s boyfriend and musical director for the troupe Mi Morena: José Redondo

Me with my cousin’s boyfriend and musical director for the troupe Mi Morena: José Redondo.

Some shots from the elaborate musical Mi Morena performed at the Teatro de Verano for the Carnaval season of 2013:

Some shots from the elaborate musical Mi Morena performed at the Teatro de Verano for the Carnaval season of 2013:

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[14) Principe AzulEl Kinto (1968)]

Oscar Wilde in 1882 (photo by Napoleon Sarony).

Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only

find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he

sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

Oscar Wilde, in The Critic as Artist (1891).

Another remarkable track from El Kinto in 1968; the at-times lugubrious but always tender lullaby “Principe Azul” (Blue Prince), about one boy’s desire to enter his dream and stay there. The song was musically composed by Eduardo Mateo, while the lyrics were the work of actor and theater director, Horacio “Corto” Buscaglia. In 1969, these two would go on to create and direct the Musicasiónes, a series of four live concerts fundamental to Uruguayan popular music held between June and November at the Teatro El Galpón in Montevideo.

By 1969, El Kinto had great prestige among counter-cultural

young people in Uruguay, people described as having “an

expansive mentality characteristic of the Woodstock era and of

the hippie movement.” All the band needed was someplace to

play on a regular basis, a way to establish themselves in a relaxed

setting (perhaps harkening back to those days in Orfeo Negro).

Theater El Galpón came to the rescue […]. El Kinto was the host

group [for the Musicasiónes], assisted by a myriad of guests who

made renaissance music, danced tango, recited poetry, or played

music: jazz, bossa nova, candombe, free improvisations in support

of movies that were projected on stage, as well as other music best

described as indefinable. There were slides, sketches, dances, and

creative light effects, all obtained with negligible economic

resources, and realized without rehearsals (Lion Productions, 2006).

 “Principe Azul

Eduardo Mateo -vocal, rhythm guitar

Urbano Moraes – keyboard, bass

Walter Cambón – lead guitar

Luis Sosa – drums

“Chichito” Cabral & Rubén Rada – percussion

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Dream, Blue Prince.

Little child you are.

You’ll have moons of cheese.

Where will the moon go?

It strikes twelve and you’ll have

Little glass slippers.

Blue Prince, you’ll have them soon,

Little mice will bring them.

When you wake from your dream

The sky will no longer have the moon.

You should look for that kiss.

Better follow your dream.

You’ll have an enchanted forest.

Alongside the drumming rabbit,

White squirrels will come.

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[15) FlyNick Drake (1970)]

Waking up feeling a little worse for wear in our little beach-side apartment in Punta del Diablo, and after procuring a large cup of coffee (not an easy task in Uruguay, I had to convince the woman behind the counter at a small beach-side bakery to dump the remnants of the pot into a plastic container she happened to have on hand as opposed to only selling me a tiny paper cupful), I believed Nick Drake’s album of 1970—Bryter Layter—would be the perfect thing to ease into the bright day with. The second of the trio of LPs he recorded before his death on November 25, 1974 from an overdose of antidepressants, this has always been my favorite of Drake’s albums. Here, Nick Drake’s ethereal yet morose melodies, and introspective, poetic lyrics are granted a Baroque elegance through the production work of Joe Boyd and arranger Robert Kirby’s undulating orchestration. The end result is a work that is captivating without being obtrusive, something that holds the weight of “art” but is still pleasant to listen to.

As the album played I sat in the sun to drink coffee mixed with chocolate milk poured from a plastic bag and read Voice Of The Fire, the spellbinding debut novel by celebrated comic book writer Alan Moore. Released in 1996, the novel takes place in the month of November but over a period of 6,000 years and follows the lives of twelve people who lived in the same area of England (Moore’s hometown of Northampton). In a twist of metafiction with the last chapter, Moore describes the work with these words:

It’s about the vital message that the stiff lips of decapitated

men still shape; the testament of black and spectral dogs

written in piss across our bad dreams. It’s about raising the

dead to tell us what they know. It is a bridge, a crossing-point,

a worn spot in the curtain between our world and the

underworld, between the mortar and the myth, fact and fiction,

a threadbare gauze no thicker than a page. It’s about the

powerful glossolalia of witches and their magical revision of

the texts we live in. None of this is speakable.

Unfortunately, with more-or-less a hundred pages to go, I would go on to lose the book while staying at the Panagea ranch; even still—highly recommended.

Perhaps in a couple of decades Juan and Suzanna’s adorable daughters, Dharma and Abril, will enjoy the book?

Perhaps in a couple of decades Juan and Suzanna’s adorable daughters, Dharma and Abril, will enjoy the book?

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Anyway, as the seventh track “Fly” swelled and chimed with John Cale’s moaning viola and ornate harpsichord, my wife began to stir from her sleep in the upstairs bedroom. Through that initial gauze of first opening your eyes to a hangover she heard Drake’s repetitive whine of Please and believed that there was a diminutive cop at the door squeaking out “Police!…Police!” A slight, sluggish, yet amusing panic momentarily followed.

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The tower and tomb of aviator and pioneer Aaron De Anchorena (November 5, 1877—February 24, 1965), set on his ranch where the left bank of the San Juan River flows into the Rio de la Plata. Upon his death he donated all 1,370 acres of this arboretum and wildlife conservatory to the state to serve as both an educational park and as the retreat home of the president.

The 246 ft. tall tower and tomb of aviator and pioneer Aaron De Anchorena (November 5, 1877—February 24, 1965), set on his ranch where the left bank of the San Juan River flows into the Rio de la Plata. Upon his death he donated all 1,370 acres of this arboretum and wildlife conservatory to the state to serve as both an educational park and as the retreat home of the president.

A snippet of the 320 steps that spiral up the tower’s interior

A snippet of the 320 steps that spiral up the tower’s interior

The view from atop the tower and tomb

The view from atop the tower and tomb

[17) HombreEduardo Mateo & Verónica Indart (1969)]

Eduardo Mateo (1940–1990).

In 1967, just as El Kinto were commencing their brief but significant career built from the remnants of the band Los Malditos, Eduardo Mateo met singer Verónica Indart and life-long friend Horacio Buscaglia. By 1969 El Kinto began to dissolve, in part due to Mateo’s erratic behavior, “his drug use, his anguished search for a transcendental spiritual dimension, his intransigence and pursuit of full authenticity” (Lion Production, 2006).

As singer Vera Sienra (with whom Mateo worked with on her lovely and delicate debut LP Nuestra Soledad) said of him at this time in the musician’s life:

Mateo was always strange, an almost unreal man in

many aspects. He could be very aggressive, very violent,

but he also was an extremely timid man, very spiritual,

with a great tenderness. His ambitions were creative. He

put all his genius, all his effort, all his pride there, while

others were suddenly looking for ways out of Uruguay.

Suddenly, Mateo was like a hermit…he had moments

when he communicated in monosyllables. You had to

interpret it. It was almost a conversation in key

(Lion Production, 2006).

Throughout the years of 1968 and 1969 Mateo spent long stretches of time living at the home of Buscaglia’s parents in the Montevideo neighborhood of Malvín, and from this intimacy the pair would enter a creative partnership that would produce, among other things, the beautiful song “Principe Azul” and the Musicasiónes series of concerts as well. In 1969, as the two became absolutely enamored by the traditional ethnic music of the Orient—particularly Hindu—they embarked on what would be one Mateo’s numerous unfinished projects. Intended to be one of the first productions released by the newly formed De la Planta label—beyond selecting the title of Horama, they never got further than recording three songs: “Hombre,” “Mumi,” and “Margaritas Rojas.”

The hypnotic dirge of “Hombre” features Verónica Indart’s vocals, which despite their cold drone are imbued with a certain empathetic charisma, which similar singer Nico of The Velvet Underground could never quite seem to fully get across for me. The whole enchantment is completed by Federico García Vigil’s work on double-bass, while Mateo provides both the percussion—emulating the timbre of tablas despite being played on bongos—as well as byzantine acoustic guitar, in which one feels they could wander for hours and never find an exit.

Hombre” (Man)

While the man sings

Kills

Lives

Man

Time makes the boy

Something

Cries

Man

Joins his hands

Calls shouting

Man, Man, Man

Where the people pass by

Dreams

Run

Man

A far caress

Groans

Sorrow

Man

Joins his hands

Calls shouting

Man, Man, Man

Man

Only

Man

Man

Man

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One wall along the street of Pérez Castellano in the Ciudad Vieja neighborhood of Montevideo

One wall along the street of Pérez Castellano in the Ciudad Vieja neighborhood of Montevideo

Ciudad Vieja, Montevideo

Ciudad Vieja, Montevideo

My wife assimilating into the ubiquitous culture of bitter yerba mate at my aunt's house in the Prado neighborhood of Montevideo, where my mother was born and where all my family there now lives.

My wife assimilating into the ubiquitous culture of bitter yerba mate at my aunt’s house in the Prado neighborhood of Montevideo, where my mother was born and where all my family there now lives.

My cousin and I before the Australian wood of a Eucalyptus tree in El Prado.

My cousin and I before the Australian wood of a Eucalyptus tree in El Prado.

[18) Norwegian Wood (Baguala)La Fragua (2001)]

Here we have a full performance by the wonderful group whose music I was introduced to though Montevideo’s remarkable radio station Babel: La Fragua. Over the course of two albums thus far La Fragua perform renditions of The Beatles tunes by incorporating the folkloric instrumentation and traditional styles of South America into their covers. Taken from volume I of their De Los Andes a Los Beatles series, they creatively reconceptualize the Lennon-McCartney penned classic “Norwegian Wood” as a baguala. The baguala—being a unique folkloric genre native of northwestern Argentina where the valleys extend from the Tucumán province to the border of Bolivia—descended from the mixture of Spanish Colonials with the indigenous communities of the Diaguitas and Calchaquíes peoples. Clever and celebratory throughout, La Fragua demonstrate their brilliant talent for arrangement with the subtle but startling fade-out made here by transitioning from a mesh of festive, adenoidal chanting and crystal guitars to the somnambulated twinkle of the descending chromatic bass line from “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.”

Released on the brilliant Rubber Soul LP in December of 1965, “Norwegian Wood”—made indelible in popular memory by George Harrison’s innovative use of a sitar to double the main descending line—was begun by Lennon during January-February of 1965 while on a skiing holiday in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Lennon’s elusive narrative is now generally recognized as a confession to his wife of an affair, however, at the time it was truly the product of The Beatles attempting to break new lyrical ground; particularly in the wake left by Bob Dylan’s stunning singles from earlier that same year: “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” As Ian MacDonald writes, Lennon was quite aware of the inspirational debt he owed Dylan and actually grew to be quite troubled by what might be the songwriter’s reaction:

For his part, Lennon was uneasy about trespassing on Dylan’s

territory and when the latter, on his next album Blonde On

Blonde, produced an inscrutable parody of Norwegian Wood

called “4th Time Around,” the head Beatle was, as he later

admitted, “paranoid”: what did the title mean? Norwegian

Wood, I’m A Loser, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,

and…Baby’s In Black? Or was it the [peaked “Dylan”] cap

[Lennon wore]? And what was Dylan driving at in those closing

lines: “I never asked for your crutch/Now don’t ask for mine”…?

In the end, the matter was settled amicably when the two met—

for the fifth time—in London in April 1966. In truth, Dylan got

on reasonably well with Lennon, with whom he had a fair amount

in common (2007).

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Graffiti stenciled in along the street of Tristán Narvaja, Montevideo.

Graffiti stenciled in along the street of Tristán Narvaja, Montevideo.

[19) 4th Time AroundBob Dylan (1966)]

Dylan on Jacob Street in lower Manhattan in 1966 (photo by Jerry Schatzberg).

A few drinks into an evening in our rented apartment in Punta Del Diablo, I recall listening to Bob Dylan’s double LP and masterpiece of 1966, Blonde on Blonde, and attempting to explain to my wife why “4th Time Around” is one of the greatest songs of all time and how it features one of the most captivating narrative structures ever attempted by a popular recording artist. While I might not recollect all that I said, I stand by those statements. One thing that has always fascinated me about this track is how simply, logically, and direct the unexpected turn in narrative is designed; particularly so on an album comprised of, albeit genius, but often oblique verse ingeniously stitched to free-floating phrases from, as Greil Marcus has expressed it, “The Old, Weird America.” Here, Dylan once more demonstrates how he is a true artist of the songwriting form.

During those years, with the daunting amount of brilliant material he produced, Dylan must have worked on his craft constantly.

With all of its miscommunication, jilted feelings, occasional hysterics, postures, one-liners, and silly rapport (as if Lewis Carroll and Groucho Marx had both just watched Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell brilliantly bounce off each other in Howard HawksHis Girl Friday and got the idea that they should team-up to write the details of a tryst at its end), the moment that it is realized that the entire jumbled affair of an afternoon in a woman’s house has not been confided to you, the listener, but to the woman who is featured in a photograph seated in a wheelchair, a woman that he immediately paid a visit to after the conclusion of the related events—this moment elevates the entire song into a complex emotional and intellectual spectrum of interpersonal relationships rarely ever touched upon so elegantly before or since the day this song was recorded down in Nashville on February 14, 1966 by a twenty-four-year-old Dylan. To add yet another layer to this impressive narrative, the tale is not being told to this woman on the day that these events occurred, but in some distant present. Much like the circular tune from which this takes its inspiration—The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”—the song operates as a confession of an indiscretion. It is the narrator coming clean and giving a complete account of what transpired that day he showed up on her doorstep with a shoe full of Jamaican Rum. However, this confession concludes with something other than a sentiment of remorse; it is more of a succinct summation of the dynamic of their particular relationship. It might be cold, but it is certainly not unfeeling:

And you, you took me in,

You loved me then,

You never wasted time.

And I, I never took much,

I never asked for your crutch,

Now don’t ask for mine.

The inside gatefold art for the first pressing of Blonde on Blonde, released May 16, 1966

Furthermore, it has always impressed me with what precision of language and time these narrative feats are accomplished. After all, it is still only a song, and one with the duration of just four minutes and thirty-five seconds. Other than perhaps a character or two’s affection, nothing here is wasted. With the economic exactitude of clockwork and the finest art the whirl of relatively candid words, delivered with cartoon dust in the throat, juvenile whimsy in the sinuses, and his flawless sense of emphasis are perfectly synchronized to an “archaic waltz” (Heylin, 2009) that is taken at a fast clip and put through its paces by the expert Nashville session men (such as Charlie McCoy, Kenneth Buttrey, and Joe South) Dylan employed to help him capture “that thin, that wild mercury sound” as he later described of the album in an interview with Ron Rosenbaum for Playboy in 1978.

Although both women featured in this tale might disagree, you the listener arrive at the final spirals of the song feeling much like the narrator: that there is nothing more that need be said. At a press conference given in San Francisco in December of 1965 Dylan stated, “All my songs basically say is Good luck. They all tail off at the end with good luck, hope you make it” (Gleason, 2006). With its final words spoken, with its final go-rounds of the spindly tune accompanied by the rapid tapping of percussion and harmonica trailing, it’s as if the narrator is walking off with an awkward smile that suggests: Hey, what more do you want from me?

Feb. 1966

Admittedly, I am a Dylan fanatic, but how can you not marvel at the mind that can create such things?

As an obvious nod to the iconic image of the songwriter by Milton Glaser, this photo illustration by Andrew Nimmo and Beth Bartholomew was created to accompany Duff McDonald‘s article, “Inside Dylan’s Brain,” published on April 8, 2008, in Vanity Fair.

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Art on the street Sarandi.

Art on the street Sarandi.

[20) Zamba De Mi EsperanzaJorge Cafrune & Los Chalchaleros (1964/2000)]

One evening in Montevideo we went out to catch a tango or two at Baar Fun Fun (pronounced foonfoon if you don’t want to receive a searching stare of incomprehension from a cabdriver). Founded in 1895, the club’s close quarters are comfortably comprised of old wood, a small stage, and walls cluttered with pictures of national icons of tango such as Carlos Gardel and festooned with brightly colored soccer jerseys and other bric-a-brac.

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The space might be tight at times, but like true Uruguayans they don’t seem to fret too much:

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I don’t recall the performers’ names that evening, but as my wife and I sat at a small table on the open-aired deck drinking Tannat wine as well as a small glass of sweet Uvita, we were treated to quite a show. A slick and taut couple rhythmically kicked, swiveled their torsos, twirled and stepped seductively to the evocative sounds of a bandoneón, all within the blue glow of a spotlight that cut through the dim room from above. At one point the man in the dark suit paused to posture and comb back his polished black hair while the woman wrapped tight in a red dress pumped her muscular thighs and sent the sharp heel of her shoe flitting past the eyes of the audience seated before her. It was a pleasure to watch something so controlled that yet suggested nothing but abandon.

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This couple would alternate stage time with a small, older man with a great big voice who would accompany himself on acoustic guitar. Despite the fact that this man must’ve been only in his early sixties he would begin each love-sick tune with something like: Whoo, che, it must be fifty or sixty years since I’ve sung this one, so forgive me if I don’t recall all the words. This performer would then proceed to deliver the proper compound of stentorian command and injured drag that these types of songs demand—these songs that are so often the beautifully captured expression of men struggling to retain the will to live within the annihilation of love. After one of these amusing preambles the performer struck a familiar sputter and slope across his guitar strings and I immediately recalled hot summer afternoons of my youth spent at my grandmother’s: me, reading some Dungeons & Dragons type fantasy novel, listening through the ratcheting of cicadas to hear her sing along while tending her garden, or otherwise in the kitchen preparing a fine meal.

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Written by Luis Profili in 1950, “Zamba De Mi Esperanza” (Zamba Of My Hope) gained widespread popularity when it was featured on the 1964 LP Emoción, Canto y Guitarra by Argentine folk singer Jorge Cafrune, becoming something of a Latin American standard (it is one of the only songs my mother ever learned to play on guitar). Despite its obvious tone of longing and sweet sorrow (or, “the comfort in being sad,” as Kurt Cobain once phrased it in Nirvana’s song from 1993  “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle”), and despite the fact that it contains nothing that even remotely concerns politics, the song was summarily banned in the 1970s by the military dictatorship that had seized power in Argentina. Perhaps with its root ethos of hope and perseverance they found the song as offensive and a threat to their agenda? That agenda being that which is always the ultimate aim of all tyranny: the complete subjugation and defilement of the soul.

To a family of Syrian-Lebanese origin, Cafrune was born August 8, 1937 on his parents’ ranch (La Matilde), which was located in the northern Argentine province of Jujuy. “El Turco,” as he came to be known, grew to be a gaucho cult figure, riding from town to town on horseback, always with a guitar and a song.

In 1977, at the age of forty and after spending several years living in Spain, Cafrune returned to Argentina, which was governed at the time by the brutal military dictatorship of Jorge Rafael Videla. During a performances at the Cosquín Folk Festival in January 1978, Cafrune refused to obey the interdict the regime placed upon one of his most-loved songs, stating: “Although it is not in the authorized repertoire, if my people requests it of me, I am going to sing it” (Ramos, 2004). Days later Cafrune was to begin a pilgrimage tour in honor of José de San Martín, who along with the likes of Simón Bolívar, and Uruguay’s own national hero, José Gervasio Artigas, helped liberate South America from the Spanish Empire in the early 1800’s.

Gral. José de San Martín—as depicted by amazing comic book artist ( The Cisco Kid, Hernán the Corsair) José Luis Salinas (Feb. 11, 1908—Jan 10, 1985).

My wife within Artigas' Mausoleum: an underground room beneath his statue at the center of Montevideo's  Plaza Independencia

My wife within Artigas’ Mausoleum: an underground room beneath his statue at the center of Montevideo’s Plaza Independencia

Intending to visit the capitals of each province, like a true gaucho this entire tour was to be conducted all on horseback.

As he set out upon his white horse on January 31, 1978, and under what could only lightly be described as “suspicious circumstances,” Cafrune was crushed by a passing truck in a “hit-and-run.” Nearly twelve hours later, on February 1, 1978, Cafrune succumbed to his severe injuries and died.

Cafrune in the 1970s

The rendition I present here is an amalgam, which features Cafune’s original recording of “Zamba De Mi Esperanza” synced up to one by the the Argentine quartet, Los Chalchaleros. Released in 2000 on their farewell double LP, Todos Somos Chalchaleros, Los Chalchaleros first gained international recognition with this song back in 1965. Formed in 1948 in the northern province of Salta, Los Chalchaleros are one of the most respected artists of traditional Argentinian folk music. With its sense of profound respect for both the material and for the man responsible for its ascendancy, I find this version particularly emotionally resonant.

Zamba De Mi Esperanza

Zamba, from my hope

You dawned like a longing.

Dream, dream from the soul

That sometimes dies without flowering.

Dream, dream from the soul

That sometimes dies without flowering

Zamba, I sing to you

Because your song spills love,

A caress of your kerchief

That wraps round my heart

A caress of your kerchief

That wraps round my heart

Star, you who looked

You who heard my pain,

Star, allow me to sing

Allow me to love as I do now.

Star, allow me to sing

Allow me to love as I do now.

Time, that goes by,

Like life, never returns.

Time is killing me

And your love will be, will be

Time is killing me

And your love will be, will be

Sunk on the horizon

I am dust taken by the wind.

Zamba, never leave me,

I, without your song, cannot go on living

Zamba, never leave me,

I, without your song, cannot go on living.

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Living by candlelight at night at Panagea.

Living by candlelight at night at Panagea.

Montevideo at night

Montevideo at night.

Traditional costumes on display at El Museo del Carnaval:
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Items for sale on the street:
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[21) Gioco di BimbaLe Orme (1972)]

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While making our way through the crowds gathered on a sunny Sunday morning for the vast flea market that encompasses numerous blocks surrounding the street of Tristán Narvaja in the middle of the Cordón neighborhood of Montevideo, I heard a song that immediately seized me. Side-stepping over to a tarp-covered table displaying a myriad of vinyl and CDs and stacked speakers bumping this haunting melody, I asked the gaunt and graying proprietor what was playing. After a suck and an exhale of his cigarette he excitedly handed me a CD case and asked in slight disbelief if I’ve never heard of the Italian prog-rock group Le Orme.

Staring at the cover art—an arresting oil painting by imaginative Italian artist Walter Mac Mazzieri (1947-1998) titled Garbo di Neve (which I believe translates to something like “The Grace of Snow”) and that features viscous colored gloops pulled and contorted into the cartoon shapes of sullen men, women, and beasts—I answered, “no.” Although now that I think of it I’m fairly certain that my uncle Raul attempted to get me into this group years and years ago when I was not quite prepared to tackle what prog-rock had to offer, this song sounded so strange and attractive. Within the sun-drenched textures of this ballad, behind the atmosphere of somnambulate ease created by a delicate interplay of acoustic guitar, the fanfare and waltz of synths, warm sing-along vocals, and the exquisite use of mandolin and clavinet that alternate between a caress and a tickle through the break—I sensed something deceitful, something wicked.

As it turns out this song—“Gioco di Bimba” (Game of The Little Girl)—is the second track off of Le Orme’s 1972 masterpiece, Uomo di Pezza (Rag Man). Having begun their career in Venice as another psychedelic pop group of the late 60s, by ’71 with their sophomore album Collage, Le Orme (The Footprints) had developed into a much more complex and symphonic set; this progression occurring despite now having been whittled down to a trio: Toni Pagliuca, keyboards; Aldo Tagliapietra, voice, bass, guitars; and Michi Dei Rossi, drums, percussion.

Operating almost as a concept album, at least in terms of its tone and themes if not as a fully fleshed out cinematic narrative, the seven tracks that make up their third LP Uomo di Pezza are threaded together by a poetic examination of spiritual and mental illness, violence, broken dreams, the depersonalization and anxiety of our modern world, and how men and women struggle to negotiate these while attempting to live in “reality.” Essentially, these songs concern the mystery and menace of the human condition, or as one erudite and perhaps mystic minded critic wrote on their Wikipedia page, “The lyrics of Uomo di pezza describe a helpless masculine attitude, juxtaposed to an unknown, inscrutable feminine universe.” Still my favorite track off of this brilliant work, “Gioco di Bimba” is a dream that sours into a nightmare of violation, repression, and the futility of repentance. By the end of this disturbing tale the Rag Man cannot stop repeating to his tailor (for what other God could there be for a Man of Rags?) “I did not want to wake her this way; I did not want to wake her this way,” but, horrifically, it matters little, for “in the game of the little girl, a woman loses.”

Gioco di Bimba” (Game of The Little Girl)

As if by incantation she rises at night,

She walks in silence with eyes still closed

Like she’s following a magic song,

And on the swing returns to dreaming.

The long robe, the face of milk,

and moonbeams on thick hair.

The wax statue stretches out among the flowers,

The jealous goblins are spying.

Swinging, swinging, the wind pushes,

The stars are captured for his desires.

A furtive shadow is pried from the wall:

In the game of the little girl, a woman loses.

A cry in the morning in the middle of the road,

A man of rags calls to his tailor.

With a lost voice he forever repeats:

“I did not want to wake her this way,”

“I did not want to wake her this way.”

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The exercise equipment placed within public parks:

The exercise equipment placed within public parks:

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Where the street of Sarandi ends as a breakwater pier far out into the Rio de La Plata.

Where the street of Sarandi ends as a breakwater pier far out into the Rio de La Plata.

[22) Siempre CaminarLimonada (1970) [Snippet]]

Just an engaging snippet of the opening to Limonada’s “Siempre Caminar” (Always Walking). Limonada, being the project created by guitarist Walter Cambon and drummer Jose Luis Sosa after the dissolution of El Kinto, released only one album in 1970. Although overall a solid work with some true highlights and hooks, one certainly gets the feeling that something is missing, leaving you less than impressed. Or as Sosa himself expressed it:

            With Limonada, Walter and I thought we wanted to continue

the lineage of El Kinto. I never liked Limonada. I do not like

anything about Limonada. Because something is missing. It is

something that is lame. Headless. The songs were there, musical

possibilities, the musicians even. What was missing? [Eduardo]

Mateo was missing. Or a mind like Mateo’s was missing, a genius

was missing. A dictator was missing, something of that

sort” (Peláez, 2004).

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[23) Luna de MargaritaSimón Díaz (1966)]

Standing at the airport in the early a.m. and attempting to check in, my wife and I were informed at this last moment that we in fact were not permitted to board as our last connecting flight to New York had been cancelled due to impending snow storms that were anticipated to bury the eastern seaboard of The United States. Told that there were no other flights available to us for nearly a week, we were stranded in Montevideo. At least, that would have been the case if my beautiful family there did not immediately offer their home to us. They did so without even the slightest sigh of inconvenience.

We spent these additional days walking Montevideo from top to bottom and I can say with confidence that we now know this city better than anyone in my immediate family back in NY, as they emigrated from their country only as they were entering their twenties. Also during this unexpected furlough (which often at times, albeit not unpleasant, felt much what limbo must be like) we were able to make a best new bud—my cousin’s dog: a scrappy little Yorkie named Luna. It was as if she could sense that the only thing we were truly homesick for from our lives back in Queens was our two little oddball Chihuahuas, Patti and Moose.

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From our first afternoon at my aunt’s home on, Luna pursued and hoarded our affections, crawling into our bed to nap curled up between us and chasing off their other dog, a lumbering yet gentle German Shepard named Tango, whenever he attempted to enter our room. With a familiar light of demented acumen in her eyes, and a sweet, yet truly weird disposition akin to that of our own pups (I am convinced that Chihuahuas come with their heads already creatively wired when they’re born) she’d nudge our hands with her muzzle the moment we paused in our petting of her. She truly helped, and I’d often find myself singing this song to her in a mock mellifluous voice:

Luna de margarita es

Como tu luz

Como tu voz

Y como tu amor

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Admittedly, my first contact with this tonada by Simón Díaz came from Devendra Banhart, with his much more spectral version released on 2005’s brilliant Cripple Crow.

Devendra Banhart with collaborators Andy Cabic, Noah Georgeson, and Thom Monahan. (Photo by Autumn de Wilde).

However, I’ve since grown to adore the original, released on the LP Caracha Negro in 1966, where Díaz is backed by harp player Hugo Blanco and his band.

Hugo Blanco y Su Conjunto

Born in Venezuela on August 8, 1928, Díaz is hugely responsible for the development and continued popularity of the traditional music of the llanos, which are the vast grasslands that span from Venezuela into the plains of Colombia. He would eventually go on to apply his sweet tenor and pleasant face to a popular children’s show, forever after being known by generations of Venezuelans as Tio Simón, or “Uncle Simón.” As for me, whenever I hear “Luna de Margarita” I will forever think fondly of that sweet pup and the warm home where I met her.

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Well, there you have it—the conclusion to Volume 1 of my special two-part mix, El Ambiente Bien Babes Y Bean de Uruguay. If all goes according to plan, the post for Volume 2 should be a much more bare-bones affair; so, come on back in a month or so for the second and final installment. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself!

———————-BOBBY CALERO———————————–

REF:

Alejandro Fatur (Poster.) (2009, Mar. 5). Yellow Submarine (Chamame ) La Fragua – de los Andes a los Bealtes [Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idJDmC6EQsI

Carlin, P. A. (2006). Catch A Wave: the rise, fall & redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale.

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Cobain, K. (1993). Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle. [Nirvana] on In Utero [CD]. DGC Records. (1993).

Gleason, R. J.  (Producer). (2006). Dylan Speaks: the legendary 1965 press conference in San Francisco. [Motion Picture]. New York: Eagle Media.

Hevia Cosculluela, M. (1981). Pasaporte 11333: ocho años con la CIA. Presencia Latinoamericana.

Heylin, C. (2009). Revolution in the air : the songs of Bob Dylan 1957-1973. 1st ed Chicago, Ill.: Chicago Review Press.

Lead, D. (1990). Smiley Smile [Liner notes]. In Smiley Smile [CD]. Hollywood: Capitol Records, Inc.

Leone, D. (2004, Sept. 28). Brian Wilson: Smile. Pitchfork. Retrieved from http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/8781-smile/

Linett, M. (2001). Track-by-Track Notes [Liner notes]. In Pet Sounds [CD]. Hollywood: Capitol Records, Inc.

Lion Production. (2006). Eduardo Mateo [Liner notes]. In Mateo Solo Bien Se Lame [CD]. Geneva, Il: Lion Production.

Lion Production. (2006). El Kinto [Liner notes]. In El Kinto [CD]. Geneva, Il: Lion Production.

Lion Production. (2011). Miguel Y El Comité [Liner notes]. In Para Hacer Musica, Para Hacer   [CD]. Geneva, Il: Lion Production.

MacDonald, I. (2007). Revolution in the head: The Beatles’ records and the sixties (3rd ed.). Chicago, Ill: Chicago Review Press.

Nahum, B. (1991). El Fin Del Uruguay Liberal. Ediciones de la Banda Oriental.

Olle, N. (2012, April 10). Disappeared In Uruguay. BBC. Retrieved from: http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/disappeared-in-uruguay/172/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8321478.stm

Patar, P. (2001, Sept. 2). Dan Mitrione, un maestro de la tortura. Clarin. Retrieved from: http://edant.clarin.com/diario/2001/09/02/i-03101.htm

Peláez, F. (2004). De Las Cuevas Al Solis. Vol 2. Perro Andaluz ediciones.

Ramos, H. (2004). Jorge Cafrune : memorias de un hombre libre. Córdoba: Del Copista

Plath, S. (2000). The unabridged journals. K. V. Kukil (Ed.). New York, NY: Anchor.

Richardson, D. (2004, October 28). Wilson’s Smile: Brian Wilson finally finishes his “teenage symphony to God.” The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved from http://www.sfgate.com/music/article/Wilson-s-SMiLE-Brian-Wilson-finally-finishes-2678579.php

Rosenbaum, R. (1978, March). The Playboy Interview: Bob Dylan. Playboy.  p. 69.

Tornatore, V. (2007). Montevideo Blues [Liner notes]. In Montevideo Blues [CD]. Geneva, Il: Lion Production.

Wilde, O. (1980). The Wit and Humor of Oscar Wilde. Alvin Redman (Ed.). New York: Dover.

Zolof, E. (2011). Shakers And Mockers: Uruguay’s Place In Latin Rock History. NPR. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/blogs/altlatino/2011/07/25/137627714/shakers-and-mockers-uruguays-place-in-latin-rock-history

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