Salvavidas Roja 1969-1971 / Mental Experience 2017
Guatemalan pioneer of psychedelic progressions puts on a spaced-out carnival.
Given the “Moog” appendix to his name, it’s easy to guess what instrument Emilio Aparicio, who passed away in 2012, played. What’s not so easy is to imagine how much the artist wanted to play it – so much so that his patron and producer traveled to the U.S. to buy the synthesizer’s early model from its creator and presented Aparicio with the wired beast. Fueled by hallucinogenic trips in Emilio’s studio, the result of his desire was rather meager: a series of single which didn’t go on sale – kindred spirits could get one for four corks of a local drink whose manufacturers served as a record label. Those spirits were few; therefore, not a lot of the ’45s survived to be collected here, and it’s great they did.
While this collection’s title track sounds like the Moog is being tuned – tuned into the universal vibe – in search of melody, “Los Visitantes de Sirio” mixes merengue with otherworldly sounds to a vertiginous effect anchored to this soil only by the gracious jazz piano which is bent on boogie. That is where “La Pipa de Lucas” would also land if not for the marching drums commanding the piece whose theatricality spills into cartoonish rumba of “El Nacimiento Diario” – yet it’s the dramatic, in a mariachi way, “El Misterio de Tiahuanaco” and the marimba-driven “La Ceremonia” that are most impressive in their switch from festive dance to charmingly cheap sci-fi flights into the unknown. And if “Brujería” harks back to the ’60s retrofuturism, “Transfiguración del Iniciado” takes humorous horror to the next level of playfulness.
Many of these numbers reveal Moog as a master of cinematic mood, so it’s very unfortunate there was no movie studio to use his talents, and no label to take recordings such as “Paren La Contaminación del Aire” – that Emilio laid down with LA BANDA PLÁSTICA – to the dancefloor. They remain more than artifacts from a long-gone era; they open a previously sealed page of a Latin America pop book.