November, 2018 – We’re staying on the music business. There’s no other way around this, it’s the main area I can deliver the goods with confidence and knowledge. I have a plan already in motion to expand this report into all the arts, but until it gains momentum you all are stuck with music and more music.
On this edition we’re entering the wayback machine and exploring classic albums that might not be so classic to the international audience these Art Reports are cultivating. Amazingly we’re staying in Venezuela, when these albums came out the population of the country wasn’t spread all over the world. Sadly, we’re staying in Caracas. Because I’m biased. And at that point in time not that many albums from outside the capital saw the light of day.
So, let’s do this:
“Deux ex Machina”, La Muy Bestia Pop
Latin America’s first industrial album, probably.
Maybe these guys owe a thing or two to Trent Reznor, but La Muy Bestia developed their own distinct sound pretty quickly. The band was an atomic bomb and their lyrics are outstanding. Their live shows were legendary, a mysterious organization called Los Obreros del Cometa produced an immense spiderlike machine made of barrels and pipes and different kinds of metal that they hit with iron bars. Good times.
Back to the album, it’s an all killer no filler affair in which every track counts, but if we have to single out some songs: “Hercules” was the main single, brutal to this day, “Saliva” displays their punk side and the cover of The Sound’s “Winning” is even better than the original and still brings chills to my spine. Listen to it, live in 1996:
“A Typical & Autoctonal Venezuelan Dance Band”, Los Amigos Invisibles
I’ve never been much of a fan, but Los Amigos Invisibles are arguably Venezuela’s biggest band.
A worldwide act with killer musicians and a pop sensibility. They took the sound from Miss Venezuela’s theme song and ran with it right into David Byrne’s hands, signed with Luaka Bop and the rest is history. Not many people outside the country knows about their first album from back when they were cool, and it may not have the sex appeal posterior projects achieved but it’s more psychedelic, jazzy and heavy. And José Luis Pardo’s guitar sounds sharper and funkier than ever. And it’s still a dance album.
The stand out tracks: “Nada Que Decir” was their huge single at the time, “Dialecto Divino” is still present in the collective unconscious and the “Dime” cover did some damage on the radio.
“Imperia”, La Corte
Venezuela’s first serious hip hop act opened the door for many to come.
Dj Trece and Bostas Brain formed a band called Shit Caliente, got into MTV Latino’s early programming, added some criminals to the mix and gradually developed the act into the melting pot of personalities that La Corte was. Their second album had some major hits, the band played every venue in every city, the momentum grew and grew until La Corte imploded. Problems within the band were too much to handle, El Cubano broke an MPC on Trece’s head and La Corte was dismissed with prejudice, giving birth to several new acts.
The big singles were “Leche” and “Mantequilla”, “Jugo” and “Justicia” were street hits, but my personal favorite is still “Monte”.
“45”, La Leche
Prepare to be amazed and hypnotized.
This band started as a punk outfit and gradually incorporated a melodic and haunting sound that made them a force to be reckoned with. La Leche was huge at the time, they played everywhere and people were expecting the album they couldn’t finish. I’m not aware of the official story, but drugs were cheap and studio time was expensive in the nineties, so it doesn´t surprise me. Thankfully the album saw the light of day in 2008 via the independent label Pilla. The band even temporarily reformed – with a modified line up, but still – to support the release playing live and to say goodbye forever.
The music remains. Thank God.
It’s hard to pick a track, this album is a kick in the teeth from start to finish, but “Ace” was a huge single back in the day, “Algún Día” is my battle song and “Piscina” has incredible lyrics. Listen to the whole thing though.
“La Violó, La Mató y La Picó”, Dermis Tatú
My personal favorite Venezuelan album of all time.
This band formed from the ashes of the behemoth that Sentimiento Muerto was and rose to even greater artistic heights. They traveled to Argentina, played in the same bill as Charly García and Fito, went into the studio and recorded an indisputable classic full of hits. You can feel the Argentinian influence all over these songs, but as anyone active at this point in time can tell you, Dermis Tatú already had a developed sound and a few demos floating around when they stepped foot on the plane.
As far as I’m concerned every single one of these tracks is a masterpiece except for “Asco” with Willy Crook’s trash saxophone solo. The big big single was “Terrenal”, a song every rocker in Venezuela knows by heart.
In the You Tube channel all of these albums come from there’s a lot more Venezuelan music from all ages including the one we’re in, but I can only attest for the ones posted here. If you want to explore without a guide I’m not going to stop you.