Going Underground: Peru- 21 September, 2010
Here is our exploration into the underground scene in Peru. Among many things we have found a booming scene of chicha music, as well as many in thrall to the classic “nuggets” garage-punk of the 50s and 60s. Most amazing of all though is the avant garde scene, which pays debt to such bands as The Telescopes, Spacemen 3 and Silver Apples.
Los Chapillacs (Arequipa)
Los Chapillacs (or Los Fabulosas Chapillacs as they are sometime known) are a chicha band from Arequipa. Their style of music has grown in popularity during recent years thanks to the fantastic The Roots of Chicha compilations. Their own particular blend of the style is a little harder than the classic chicha bands of the 60s and 70s with some psychedelic twists, especially on “La Cumbia Delincuencial”:
Established in 2000, Bareto have already released three albums and played a pivotal role in Lima’s alternative scene due to their mix of latin, reggae and Western influences. Essentially, what they do is take the up-front funk of Peruvian legends Black Sugar, mix it with a little chicha, add a ska beat and end up with infectious Latino party tunes. Their second album Cumbia was vital in the resurgence of bands playing chicha music. It featured covers of such classics as “Aguajal”, “Soy Provinciano” and “La Danza de Los Mirlos”.
There are a ridiculous number of garage punk bands in Peru in thrall to the sounds of The Sonics and The Seeds, as well as Peru’s own Los Saicos, bands such as Heroe Inocente, Radio Garage and TMC. One of our favourites though is Comfuzztible, who just seem to have the right mix of punk, humour and fuzz, as well as some seriously enchanting farfisa organ, as can be evinced on this video clip:
The avant garde scene in Lima of the early 90s, and onwards to the current day, has owed something of an influence to late 80s/early 90s British indie bands such as My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3, Primal Scream and Inspiral Carpets. Many of the bands that started the scene have now collapsed, such as Atmósfera, 1+, Katarsis and Fractal, but Hipnoascension remain. Their sound is now a little murkier, brooding perhaps, but has gained in power, especially in their live show, which has become legendary. Check it out here:
This is another group born out of the same movement. Luis Durand, closely affiliated with the Crisálida Sónica collective that began the movement, would move through other bands such as Pastizalbefore finally Transparente, who released their debut Novo in 2009. There is a definite Spacemen 3/Spiritualized influence, especially in the use of vocals and synths. This is music that can be both powerful and gentle.
One of the artists we haven’t mentioned is Wilder Gonzalez Agreda who is involved in many of the great alternative activities taking place in Lima. It’s definitely worth checking out his recordings as a member of Cono Norte 3, Peruvian Red Rockets (with Luis from Transcendente) as well as his solo work.