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Aguaturbia (Chile) - 1970 - "Psychedelic Drugstore"
(53 min, "Hi-Note")


*****
Tracklist:
1. Somebody To Love 3-05
2. Erotica 3-50
3. Rolling 'n' Tumbling 3-05
4. Ah ah ah ay 2-49
5. Crimson & Clover 10-35
6. Heartbreaker 5-43
7. Blues On the Westside 6-16
8. Waterfall 3-46
9. Evol 8-45
10. I Wonder Who 2-56
11. Aguaturbia 2-22

Line-up: 
Denise - vocals
Carlos Corales - guitars
Willi Cavada - drums
Ricardo Briones - bass

"Hi-Note Music" web-site / online ordering: http://www.hinotemusic.com/

Prologue. I already know that, apart from Peru, a communistic Chile was another South American country with an intensive and notable (marked with a 'revolutionary' frivolity, by the way!) hippie / Rock music movement in the second half of the 1960s and in the beginning of the 1970. Aguaturbia's only "Psychedelic Drugstore" album is my first acquaintance with the 'Rock music culture' of Chile.

The Album. I don't want to say that the songs, that feature the album's first part, are mediocre (let alone they're weak). All of the most interesting and progressive songs are, however, assembled in the second half of it, where there is the only quite accessible song - the last one, named same as the album. It must be said that both the less complex songs of the album are located on the opposite poles of it. So, can you guess right the title of the second (and last) accessible song? Sure, this is Somebody To Love, consisting of only two different themes - both vocally and instrumentally. Actually, these are just couplets and refrains, sung on the Hard Rock-ish instrumental background. There are no guitar solos on Somebody To Love, though the riffs of a guitar and especially vocal parts are more or less diverse. The last (title) track sounds just a little richer thanks to the acoustic guitar passages that appear in the second part of the song, while there are only two lead vocals, female and male, who sing in a Spanish manner on the background of monotonous beats of the hollow drum, in the first part. It's unknown who was that male vocalist, just once involved in singing the song, which, by the way, sounds by all means atypical for the album as a whole. The majority of the album's songs represent either Progressive Space Rock or a blend of proto-progressive Hard and Space Rock, and I can't say that a wonderful blues-y ballad Blues On the Westside is out of the band's original stylistics, marked (of course!) by the majority of the album's songs. It's more than a usual story when 'heavy' bands put a ballad among the other ('heavy') tracks. As I've mentioned already, proto-progressive compositions are assembled in the first half of the album, while the most interesting and progressive ones are in the second half. Each of the four tracks 2 to 5 contains a few of different instrumental and vocals themes, as well as instrumental arrangements where there are always original, diverse and virtuosic guitar solos play a prominent part. Actually, though, these always diverse, etc guitar riffs or solos always play a prominent role in all of the album's songs (i.e. just the album throughout, but this Russian writer still doesn't want to see any of tautologies in his sentences). Back to the said four tracks 2 to 5, even the album's longest track Crimson & Clover isn't too rich in progressive ingredients, though the (excellent) musicianship of each of the band members reached its peak exactly here. (Strangely enough, it seems to me that I am already familiar with at least one of the two main vocal parts of Crimson & Clover: fata morgana?). It must also be said, however, that, beginning with the album's opening track and up to and including Evol (track 9), each following track is at least slightly better than the previous one (not counting of a ballad, which is beautiful in its own way - in itself, though). The second song Erotica is full of Denise's very impressive erotic oh 'n' ah 'vocalizes', apart from just a few of real vocal parts. The latter, though, were sung with the same specific emotions, so I wonder why a very good heavy instrumental (track 4) was named as Ah ah ah ay: this would rather be a great sub-title for still the same Erotica. There also are just a few of vocal parts on Rolling 'n' Tumbling (track 3), but on the other hand, there are lots of wonderful powerful vocalizes that fit 'heavy' structures excellent. Along with Heartbreaker (track 6) starts a real Progressive Hard Rock with a lot of changes of themes, tempos and moods (in vocals), variegated large-scaled arrangements, Rock-ish fast and virtuosic solos and spacey fluid ones as well. Both Heartbreaker and Waterfall (track 8), apart from having all the necessary ingredients so as to sound very progressive, are also characterized with such incredible things as sudden (yet gradual, which is especially amazing) accelerations and decelerations of tempos, as well as 'falls' into different musical dimensions. Despite the fact that I Wonder Who (track 10) is a short song, there is enough of progressive diversity. I am especially impressed by a very inventive contrast between the fast, on the whole, tempo of the song and slow and plangent singing of Denise. Evol (track 9), the most complex and incredibly progressive composition (killer, by all means), is a peak of the band's evolution with regard to this album, whereas if the album as a whole would sound in the vein of the polar songs, it would be just an evilution. (This way, all the political (i.e. bloody!) revolutions must actually sound just as revilutions.) While the Two of the rhythm section work effective and impressive always on the album, the main "Psychedelic Drugstore" heroes are, however, unique singer-chameleon Denise (whose English is excellent: at least for these Russian ears) and guitarist-virtuoso Carlos Corales. Having probably the whole three octaves in her vocal diapason, Denise shines the album throughout, whereas the work of Carlos's guitar, as well as really remarkable instrumental arrangements with his guitar's riffs, moves and solos at the head of them (I guess Carlos is the main composer of "Psychedelic Drugstore") became noticeable beginning with the fourth track and really excellent - beginning with the sixth one.

Summary. According to the Gibraltar EPR, Aguaturbia's music represents the 'psych' with wild 'wah-wah' guitar solos and great female vocals. While I agree with both the latter points absolutely, the band's stylistics has, in my view, just a little to do with real psychedelic music. It is not easy to make out the elements of it there even through a 'prism' of the album's specific title. At the Down of the Genre and Rock Music in general 'psych', along with Progressive, was one of the main musical constituents of the great Pink Floyd, as well as Clear Blue Sky and Hawkwind (apart from such real psych-makers as early Amon Duul II, Can, etc). I regard the music of Aguaturbia as one of the early manifestations of Progressive's Space Rock sub-genre: it is well known that the real Space Rock is, on the whole, quite heavy music. Not as progressive as the debut album of the Space Rock pioneers Clear Blue Sky*, Aguaturbia's "Psychedelic Drugstore" is, nevertheless, not only one of the best Space Rock albums. along with *"Out of the Blue", this is one of the most innovative and unique albums ever created within the frame of the sub-genre (to read the review on Clear Blue Sky's * debut album click here).

VM. November 5, 2001


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