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Various Artists: Love, Peace and Poetry: Chilean Psychedelic Music

Various Artists: Love, Peace and Poetry: Chilean Psychedelic Music

Release Date:2008

By Sam Hopkins | Posted 6/25/2008

Here's something you don't hear much of in Latin music: the hammer dulcimer solo. But that's just how Los Jaivas open "Foto de Primera Comunión,"on the new compilation Love, Peace and Poetry: Chilean Psychedelic Music. Infused with Anglo-folk elements like the above, this new volume in the expansive Love, Peace and Poetry international series highlights the experimental edge of one of Latin America's most underappreciated music scenes.

There are accented nods to English and American rock's worldwide dominance, like Aguaturbia's "I Wonder Who." Aguaturbia also moans through the not-so-subtle "Erotica," where the English moans and groans and seductive cries of "Please, baby, make love to me" sound curiously like contemporary Bollywood cuts.

The Chilean edition of this series features more than one track each by Aguaturbia, Los Beat 4, and Blops. That focus on a few groups could be taken as a sign of the limited scope of Chilean psychedelic rock, or just as a show of how good and popular those bands were in their time.

You hear driving drums and arpeggiated guitar breakdowns on "La Realidad," by Sacros, and social commentary spoken through what sounds like walkie-talkies in "Cuantos Que No Tienen y Merecen" ("how many don't have and deserve"), by Congregacion.

In Chile, as in many Latin American countries, countercultural and socialist statements became dangerous once a military junta took power, in Chile's case one led by Augusto Pinochet in an American-backed coup on Sept. 11, 1973. Cassettes were distributed from political exile, but the commercial distribution of experimental music at home effectively ceased under military pressure.

Today, Chile's economy is vibrant and the capital Santiago is bustling. The countryside has become popular with wine tourists and backpackers who want to traverse the world's longest (north-south) and thinnest (east-west) country. Now Chilean Psychedelic Music offers a closer sense of Chile's musical history and showcases another piece in Latin America's musical puzzle.

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