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Blops - Blops CD (album) cover

BLOPS

Blops

 

Prog Folk

3.44 | 25 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars Los Blops’ first album is without a doubt the most engaging and interesting of their three official studio releases from the early seventies. Like so much acid folk of that era, these are compositions recorded in simply and earnestly by young university students (on only two-track recordings, I believe). Today many of these artists would be considered na´ve and almost primitive, but of course for those of us who count ourselves fans that is precisely where their charms and appeal lie.

The opening “Barroquita” is also the first song the band composed together. Like most of the rest of the album this is an acoustic instrumental with a hauntingly familiar and sedate tone. The song highlights the exquisite blend of Western influences and native instrumentation that made the Blops and their Chilean countrymen El Congreso, Los Jaivas and Congregacion such powerful and regionally popular progressive folk voices at a difficult time in their homeland.

The instrumentals are the stars of this album; along with “Barroquita”, the songs “La Muerte del Rey”, “Patita” and “Atlantico” are solid, melodic and Latin-tinged folk delights that show a band of musicians who may still be developing their technical skills but are clearly in-synch as a single-minded collective. The intricate acoustic guitar fingering and simple piano set the tone for each, while the breathy flute and liberally-sprinkled percussion spice each up and give them contextual meaning.

Elsewhere the tracks with vocals such as “Los Momentos” and “Maquinaria” are decent enough, but their appeal is probably stronger with those of the same language families than to a broader prog folk audience. The band does manage to showcase the breadth of their musical influences on the ranging and moody “Santiago Oscurece El Pelo en El Agua” though, which undoubtedly included many British acid folk acts as well as psych masters of the day including Hendrix and the Doors (check out the ambitious electric guitar work on the second half of this tune as well as the spacey vocals and tempo of “Valle De Los Espejos”).

This is a band that never got the sort of recognition they deserved, unlike their more well-known and publicized Chilean counterparts like Los Jaivas and El Congreso. To bad, because this album, and to a slightly lesser extent their second one as well, have a definite place in the collections of any serious progressive folk fan. I’m torn between three and four stars so in the interest of this warm and uplifting spring day I’m going to err on the positive side and go with four stars. Well recommended to folks who appreciate South American modern folk, as well as acid folk fans of all stripes and persuasion.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |

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