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Reynols - The Bolomo Mogal F Hits

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Artist: Reynols

Album: The Bolomo Mogal F Hits

Label: Audiobot

Review date: Feb. 26, 2004

“We are Reynols and we don’t understand Reynols. How can anyone understand if we don’t understand.”

Actually, that’s one of the more intelligible statements the band has ever made. Hopefully, someday a book of Reynols aphorisms will be published, as they are currently spread around the band’s endless releases and interviews (e.g. Miguel Tomasin: “The score (of the match) was 1 to 1.” Q: “So who scored the goals?” MT: “Nobody.”) Together, they read like a gonzo Beyond Good and Evil.

For whatever its worth, Reynols gets out of the house much more than Friedrich Nietzche ever did, and it shows. Their massive discography and impact on underground music is coming to the fore, just as they announced their suspension of their 11 year career (as of January 2004 the end of Reynols seems permanent, but continued musical activity is guaranteed with all parties). The usual approach to writing about Reynols revolves around their self-invented mystics and/or the fact there’s a member with Down’s syndrome. Let’s see if something else can’t be added to the debate, no?

In 1982, the Argentinean generals disastrously decided to invade the Malvinas islands (known to us yanks as the Falklands) and therefore piss off the manliest Prime Minister Great Britain had ever known, Margaret Thatcher. After years of throwing intellectuals off of planes into the ocean and “disappearing” domestic dissenters, it was time for a war to celebrate the newly aligned homeland. However, Argentina made the classic mistake of all Latin American counties: trusting the United States. Since Argentina had trained the Contras on their soil and then funneled them back into Nicaragua to fight the Sandinistas, they thought that Ronald Reagan owed them a favor. Obviously he was wearing his ten-gallon hat when he winked at them, as there was no way the US was going to look the other way when British interests were threatened (it’s called “the special relationship.”) The resulting catastrophe decimated what remained of the British Left, cleaved in two from the uber-nationalism culled together to bomb the shit out of a tiny island (see Crass: Sheep Farming in the Falklands 7”). Accordingly, we can thank Argentina for Tony Blair. However, the embarrassment of taking on the Brits and losing led to the end of the Argentine dictatorship and the opening up of the country to international capital. The members of Reynols were all in their teens during this episode, and thus it can be seen as a watershed during their musical formation.

Argentina was sold to the world as a success story of neo-liberal economics, as the application of the “golden straightjacket” to stable developing countries brought foreign attention, industry, and trickle-down wage gains. By 1997 the country was the model that all others were pointed toward when their own economies were stagnant. What was actually going on was an economic bubble of gigantic proportions financed by the fire-sale privatization of everything formerly owned by the government. Eventually they ran out. What can one do in a country when the New Gilded Age so envelops the zeitgeist that any talk of earlier government killings and invasions is deemed inappropriate to the national interest? Why, form a rock band, of course.

Similarities exist between Brazilian Tropicalia here, if only for the reason that a relatively avant-garde group gained media exposure in a system where American Idol is the rule. On Reynols’ The Bolomo Mogal F Hits, a track relays an Argentinian doctor introducing the band on TV; the band famously held a house stint on the daytime talk show Buenas Tardas Salud (like The View, except no fat chicks). Consider an analogous experience to see Katie Couric opening with a Wolf Eyes lead-in. A deeper current, still, is the permanence of this music. Just as Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso outlasted the Brazilian generals (indeed, Gil is cultural minister currently under Lula), Reynols outlasted the schemes of the IMF and Carlos Menem. What happens to popular culture when the middle class (the mass market) disappears around it? Reynols is a true model for our globalized society, as the Zapatistas of the music underground they exist everywhere and survive by the force of their message alone. If one delves into the Reynols lexicon, this manifests itself in their philosophy (Bolomo Mogal is one of three planes on which the band plays, Earth being another one). Their music is spread around tens of labels in the US and Europe, and live performances by the band in the U.S. featured recordings of Miguel Tomasin (who is not allowed to leave Argentina but communicates with the band through psychic channels) with Anla Courtis and Roberto Conlazo playing on stage. If this was Business Week, this writer would be tempted to dribble paeans to the avant-garde nature of the New Economy, where place means nothing and communication brings together all cultures. As it is not, let us thank God for Dusted.

The album itself, released by Belgium label Audiobot, consists of rarities and outtakes, both live and in studio. Amazing and bewildering, it features tracks not included on the Freedom From Minecxio 7”, the Blank Tapes CD (Trente Diseaux), and the collaboration with Pauline Oliveros (In the Arms of Reynols – an excellent starting point for newcomers). Overall, as more and more publications and critics began to shift Reynols’ status from an “outsider” band to a rock band, their style was realized as real innovation in improvisation and not chicanery. Good critic, here’s a biscuit. Now tell us why The Bolomo Mogal F Hits is a pun and how psychedelic it all is. As for the rest of you, there’s always Tomasin's definition of noise-music: “It’s music for teeth.”

P.S. Reynols played at Oberlin College in 2001 at a workshop entitled, "Improvising With Improvisation." After all, music has its own golden straightjacket as well.

By Kevan Harris

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