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V/A - Latinamericarpet: Exploring The Vinyl Warp Of Latin American Psychedelia Vol. 1

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Artist: V/A

Album: Latinamericarpet: Exploring The Vinyl Warp Of Latin American Psychedelia Vol. 1

Label: Sublime Frequencies

Review date: Nov. 2, 2007

This compilation of Latin American Psychedelia lives up to its billing, but if you're hoping for some sort of Sonics by way of Limonada, all done up with Les Rallizes Denudes guitar torment atop a Cumbia rhythm, you might want to adjust your expectations. For the most part, Latinamericarpet is a goofy album, from its childish title, to the aural oddities lifted from Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. Within its 27 tunes and snippets, we find some confounding musical mix-ups:

  • the slide-guitar driven instrumental take on "Tie a Yellow Ribbon on the Old Oak Tree"
  • a bassoon and organ combo playing along with a chorus of birds
  • the Link Wray-meets-Joe Meek camp of Argentina's Los Renos, whose contribution spends half of its three minutes as a drum solo
  • a mother and daughter going over parts of the body in English
  • a raw ranchero from way down in Chile
  • a children's piano-driven funk tune
  • a Mexican marimba-fueled cha cha
  • a demented Argentinean surf tune
  • a fairly normal mountain song from the Peruvian Andes
  • a hammer dulcimer and flanged guitar workout on the classic waltz, "Cielito Lindo”
  • a Sesame Street-ish "rock" take on Mozart's "Turkish Waltz”
  • a horribly cheesy organ and guitar instrumental version of Elvis's "Latest Flame”
  • and some Yoga instruction sung by someone under the influence of nitrous oxide.

None of Sublime Frequencies' past radio collages get any more random or schizophrenic than this. And like the label's collection of underground smaltz from North Korea or its guitar rock culled from battered tapes found in Burma's precarious Golden Triangle, the sounds packed onto this disc attempt to turn notions of what makes music "good,” "important" or "pure" upside down.

For this is ultimately what happens as a result of first world domination and exploitation: Cultures under the radar take scraps of what's tossed to them and re-envision them on their own terms. Not only that, this collection contains music that, on its own, is totally unsuspecting, never made with the awareness that, when sampled as collage some 30 years later and digested by people who may have never previously known of its existence, it would form such a downright zany document.

By Bruce Miller

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