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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 naďve 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.


Report this review (#207942)
Posted Saturday, March 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars I had heard of the band several times, and finally decided to have a listen. I was disappointed, expecting a much better album. Don't get me wrong, it is good. However, it's neither a masterpiece nor a necessity.

The three tracks that stood out to me on the album are "Barroquita", "La Muerte Del Rey", and "La Mańana y El Jardin".

"Barroquita", an instrumental track, has a calming flute that in my opinion is played excellently, especially near the end of the track when it picks up tempo. The percussion and string accompaniments also add a nice effect. The piece really seems to capture the South American folk flavor.

"La Muerte Del Rey", "The Death of the King" in English, is another instrumental track that also seems to reflect upon traditional Chilean music.

"La Mańana y El Jardin", "The Morning and the Garden" in English, is a song that is not exactly folk, but more like something I would expect to hear at an outdoor concert if I were to visit Chile.

If you wish to listen to Chilean folk, I recommend that you check out Los Blops, though they are not mind-blowing.

Report this review (#230774)
Posted Sunday, August 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars In my route across the Prog folk of my country i decided to stop a moment to analyze the work of an important Chilean band: LOS BLOPS, contemporary with their colleages; Los Jaivas and Congreso, but much less long- lived, "Los Blops" are a forgotten jewel, while Los Jaivas and Congreso are living legends.

This chilean musicians lived, just like Los Jaivas and Congreso, in comunity, which it was a kind of euphemism of "being hippie", but it also involved a certain way of being, of relating to people, of perceiving the world and to shape what is perceived in a musical work, Los Blops shared stage in more than one chance with this legends, also Los Blops incursionated in Chilean and American folk rock and had, like Congreso and Los Jaivas, a shift towards progressive rock, but unfortunately in this case, his great and beautiful progressive rock album "Locomotora" (1974) would not be another thing than his last album.

Although his first album did not come out until 1970, They started in 1964 (maybe that's why his music is very much inspired by the rock of the sixties).

Los Blops had many formations, this generated a lot of instability in the band, further the economic problems caused that the band was unsuccessful in time. Post-1974 formations do not have albums but they have some priceless video works highlighting "sambayé" (1979) WHICH, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO ANY MUSIC LOVER, regardless of genre you like. It is a tremendous piece of art. The video of sambaye is actually not in PA (blops page in PA hasnt any youtube link), if somebody that read this review can update it please help me: i cant put likn here but, if you want to help, send a PM to me

Their first album "Blops" (1970), has a very calm, acoustic sound, away from the interests of prog fans, however, beautiful and valuable, does not sound very folk, it is because I am Chilean, and I know the folklore my country, indeed the music of this album and important part of the work of this band is very akin, on the one hand with classical music and on the other hand, with the rock of the sixties, the style of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, that is, western music, the folk element emerges strongly in its second album "del volar de las palomas" (1972).

The álbum "Blops" (1970) It is characterized by having Beautiful instrumental themes with an already defined style, with good harmonies of acoustic guitar and good traverse flute solos, with a classic touch, but more simple, that inspire peace and quiet, very delicious pieces like "barroquita" "la muerte del rey" "niebla", "patita", "atlántico" (especially the latter is one of the best).

The second number, the song "Los Momentos" is a very emblematic, known and essential piece of popular music in Chile, inflatable in school trips, street singing, and drunken evenings, but let us not be confused, we are not just talking about a popular song, but a very important song for its content, was composed by Eduardo Gatti and is, in fact, better known by Gatti than by Los Blops (as I said, the blops are a forgotten gem), I do not intend to translate all the songs, but usually it is necessary to translate a fragment, in that way, those who are unable to understand the song can, at least, understand the basic sense of it.

Tu silueta va caminando con el alma triste y dormida, ya la aurora no es nada nuevo pa' tus ojos grandes y pa' tu frente; ya el cielo y sus estrellas se quedaron mudos, lejanos y muertos pa' tu mente ajena.

Your silhouette go walking With the soul sad and slept, now the aurora is nothing new for your big eyes and your forehead; now the sky and its stars, they stayed silent, distant and dead for your taciturn mind.

This fragment tries to express how we go desensitizing, how we stopped to give value to the basic things, like simply to breathe or to admire the wonder of the sky and stars.

so emotional at this point, by sharing with you the meaning of this song,that is not so easy to continue with the review as usual, but i have to finish it, so I'll continue.

Sometimes, in the álbum can be easily seen the rock influence, for example in the song "Vértigo" with a passionate electric guitar solo, or the instrumental, "Santiago oscurece el pelo en el agua" where are highlighted the skills of Juan Contreras in the flute, which it is accompanied by electric and acoustic guitars.

"Maquinaria" (machinery) also presents rock elements, although they are closer of the end of the song, the melody is quite monotonous, the lyrics, are a metaphor of the dehumanization of human beings in modern life. However, it never reaches the intensity or significance of "Los momentos".

"Valle de los espejos", its another great song by Los Blops, and one of the best momets in the disc, a simple but wonderful melody, the music dialogues with the lyrics, that talks about the pass of the time and the life, the very blue sky, the clear air, the sun, wich watch us in silence, and the earth, wich slowly rotates, the music is very well achieved, the lyrics are well accompanied by a good rithm on acoustic guitar and soft drumming, keyboard and traverse flute, definitely one of the best songs of the album and of the band, excellent theme to close the disc and leave a pleasant and lasting feeling.

Well, the theme that usually is left for review at the end is often the least favorite one; "la mańana y el jardín" (the morning and the garden) composed and sung by bassist Juan Pablo Orrego, is the only number that I do not like of the album, its very hippie, but unlike "Valle de los espejos" o "Los Momentos", this song falls into kitschy and infantile.

This album isn't an amazing wonder of progressive rock, but it contains beautiful music that inspires peace and tranquility to those who listen it, besides having some historical value and being a cult album in Chilean music, it also contains some of the best themes of this band like "valle de los espejos" the emblematic "los momentos" and the beautiful instrumental "atlántico", This album will not appeal to most prog fans, but will appeal to that sensitive listener who wants to be thilled or simply enjoy beautiful music.

It's a shame what happened with this band, did not succeed in time, but if they had continued, perhaps they would have been as good as Congreso or even Los Jaivas, what is important is that they contributed, and although not being popular, undoubtedly his contruibution was important, transcendent, inspiring.

Report this review (#1424248)
Posted Sunday, June 7, 2015 | Review Permalink

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