Promus 1971 / Pharaway Sounds 2019
Venezuelan visionary’s deliverance of folk tunes from traditional lore with a prospect of exploding them in space.
José Enrique Sarabia could have made history even if his only contribution to music was “Ansiedad” which he wrote as an impressionable 19-year-old to see the song covered by Viktor Lazlo and Nat King Cole, yet it’s this record that must secure his place in a pantheon of pop pioneers. Sponsored by the local Shell office to become the corporate’s Christmas present, “Revolución Electrónica” offers a mind-boggling immersion in llanera styles via the multitude effects Chelique designed following Moog’s principles. The resulting blend is surprisingly organic for such an artificial approach; more so, there’s something new brought out of the old melodies.
While “Polo Margariteño” sounds like a cross between “Apache” and “Chan Chan” only to welcome an occasional strange sound, “Maracaibo En La Noche” gets drenched in reverb for enhanced cosmic romanticism. Yet whereas tweeting birds and wind chimes soften the eeriness of “El Pajarillo” before bandola and cuatro weave a delicate acoustic lace over bass drops and processed drums that gradually move to the fore, sweeping strings infuse the otherwise playful “El Cumaco de San Juan” with Morricone-esque, cinematic enormity. Sarabia’s band shine on the vibe-spiced “Polo Coriano” but their instruments are engulfed in oscillating synthesizers on “Mare–Mare / Por Comer Zopoara / El Pájaro Guarandol”: the most out-there melodies’ meld of all – one on par with “Río Manzanares” which will resolve in jazzy dance once FX-surface is cleared and gaucho choir is silenced.
Revolutionary for its time and place, this record can’t cease to amaze even now. Forget about “Ansiedad”: Chelique’s electronica will take care of your anxiety in a different, efficient manner.