Saturday 31 December 2022

Juaneco y Su Combo 1976

You might initially think "oh this is just ho-hum Peruvian cumbia" but seconds later you will drawn in to the sublime poly-rhythmic vortex then the mesmerising mystical guitars. All of a sudden you are lost in sweet incandescent sound. These are deep Amazonian jamz and Juaneco y Su Combo were at a ceaseless peak.

Another deep cumbia Amazonica jam with tantalising kaleidoscopic rhythms and those complimentary divine psychedelic guitar tones will have you enraptured. These two tunes are the final tracks of their 1976 LP Linda Nena on Infopesa. Juaneco y Su Combo were at the peak of their powers here and seemingly unstoppable but sadly it all came to a dark and abrupt end. In 1977 five members of the band, including guitarist/main songwriter Noé Fachin, died in a plane crash. Several remaining members would reform the group later and while still very good they never quite recaptured the magic of the Fachen-led era.

Friday 30 December 2022

Pink Floyd - Welcome To The Machine

Heard Welcome To The Machine for the first time since the 80s this year and can't believe how fucking great it is. The outa control swathes of noise-y synths combined with that lovely 12 string strum, bass pulse and those tormented vocal vibes are just the ticket for epic ominousness and silly self-seriousness. I'm sure millions of you (well at least the three people who still read me blog) are cringing at me right now, saying "you took your time getting here man!" 

Barring Syd-era, I always thought Pink Floyd were too middlebrow for me. The 70s were Can or Abba, Bolan or Beefheart, Black Sabbath or Bee Gees. I didn't hate Pink Floyd I just never actively listened to them. They were still hanging around being lame when I was a teenager circa Momentary Lapse Of Reason thus were easy to ignore. I also never had that clichéd rite of passage where I went all in on the discovery of pot. I never owned my own bong or bought a quarter or burnt incense trying to mask marijuana smoke from my parents while looking at my Bob Marley poster and listening to David Gilmour soloing for eternity into the abyss...aww I know this is too so sad.  

Anyway I thought maybe one day my Pink Floyd time would come. I thought I'd missed my chance though as its been 30 years since discovering and digging the delights of other English proggers and space rockers Van Der Graaf Generator, King Crimson, Gong, Hawkwind etc. Hopefully there's much Pink Floyd goodness to discover... I have vague recollections of Wish You Were Here and Animals being good, however it wasn't that long ago that I gave Dark Side Of The Moon another chance and I just couldn't stomach it at all...we'll see...

*Roger Waters has coincidentally been on the radar in 2022 because he is one of the few anti-war voices (alongside Max Blumenthal, Glenn Greenwald, Jeffery Sachs, Jimmy Dore) who understands the bullshit western media propaganda surrounding Zelensky and the retarded lies of the American war machine. We're expected to believe nonsense like "Putin blew up Nord stream" or "Zelensky is Churchillian" which is hilariously absurd. We all marched in opposition to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, two hundred thousand of us in Melbourne, I recall. They invaded then committed war crimes anyway. Since then what? Let the anti-war movement recommence. 

Thursday 29 December 2022

Noche Tropical - Juaneco y Su Combo

Juaneco y Su Combo are all about the poly-rhythms, designed specifically for good times dancing. At 0:52 we get a wicked break then the incredible extended 15 second break at 2:00 which is as good as anything in funk or disco. By the time you've puffed yourself out from dancing, the insidious tune will be stuck in your head. Peak Cumbia Amazonica!

Wednesday 28 December 2022

Juaneco y Su Combo

Juaneco Su Combo were there from the start ie. the conversion of old school cumbia (of the Colombian variety) into electric Peruvian psych cumbia. There's an entire pre-history to this band but the combo we're interested in here is the one led by Noé Fachin who was "a wizard" or a "witch doctor" (depending on how good your Spanish is) of the guitar. 

Cabalito Nocturno was the opening track on their debut self-titled LP released by Peruvian label Imsa Records in 1969. Keyboards were pretty rare on early Peruvian cumbia, really only becoming prevalent when synths gained in popularity later in the 70s and into the 80s. 


This is their most famous tune featuring vocals although that lyrical guitar melody is competing with the chanting to be the star of the song. You gotta love that percussion too. It's always doing something to capture your attention. This featured on their second LP El Gran Cacique from 1972. For this record they signed to Alberto Maravi's Infopesa label. This was a successful partnership that lasted up until 1984 and yielded ten top notch LPs.  


This one is all about the rhythm. I mean it's all good, such a wonderful cumbia jam that distils the elements of the genre down to their bare essentials: great tuneful twangin' guitar, a bit of yelling/MC-ing, that infectious tropical beat...and at 2:43 you even get a breakdown which isn't all that common in 70s Peruvian cumbia. This is peak cumbia from the Amazon!

Saturday 24 December 2022

Grupo Genesis - Vuela Cóndor Vuela

If you think all Peruvian cumbia sounds like The Ventures with Tito Puente on drums think again. The 80s ushered in a much more slickly produced sound which was a lot more glossy, synthetic and electronic. A whole new set of influences were on the cards: Euro Disco, electro-synth-pop, cosmic synth, prog etc. while the tunes became more vocal and lyric based. There were new stylistic flourishes, to add to the usual tropical twang-fest, that hint at shoegaze and vapourwave while still retaining the fuzz/wah wah guitars and danceable latin poly rhythms. 

Anyway Vuela Cóndor Vuela always blows my little mind especially when it gets to the surreal almost shogaze-y bit where it lifts off into the stratosphere followed by that disorienting backwards/forwards "what's going on?" sonic moment before getting back to the tune. Quite a trip. Anthemic!

*Also LOOK that outfit, it says it all. 

Friday 23 December 2022

Los Orientales - Chinito Bailarin

This tune... Peruvian cumbia at its most mesmerising, psychedelic and intense. There's a guitar line that starts at 0:58 to 1:13 you could imagine Bernard Sumner or Marty Wilson Piper playing then another guitar turns in that incredible new wave-esque oriental break. How this tune manages to stay true to its cumbia roots, in fact more so than a lot of other Peruvian cumbia songs usually do, is a testament to this combo's integrity. Chinito Bailarin is from Los Orientales second single. I like to imagine this is a mini guitar duel with Maximiliano Chavez fervently trading licks with Victor Ramirez just before they parted ways and the group split into two. I mean we don't know who played what exactly so this story, which is possibly true, is what I'm going with. The best!

Thursday 22 December 2022

Los Orientales de Paramonga Maximiliano Chavez - EL DRAGON

Quite possibly my favourite tune from Maximiliano Chavez's Los Orientales. El Dragon from 1972 or 73 is the most unhinged track they did. That makes this single pretty atypical as Los Orientales were usually the most mellifluous of the original bunch of psych cumbia groups that formed in Peru during the late 60s. This is as rock as Chavez ever got and it's intoxicating, menacing and punk. When he starts slashing at his guitar at 0:45 it's a fucking psychedelic tropical noise party. Then that manic rhythm goes even more nuts and there's a weird deep bass chugging away in a chasm while horns blast away towards the end. The Best!

Los Orientales de Paramonga Maximiliano Chavez - LA DANZA DEL MONO

Guitarist and bandleader Maximiliano Chavez claims his Los Orientales de Paramonga are the authentic band out of the two that existed in Peru simultaneously from 1971 onwards. Who am I to disagree? He wrote their original first 4 sides that appeared on Dinsa 7" singles in 1970 before the group splintered off into his combo and the other directed by guitarist Victor Ramirez.
La Danza del Mono from 1971 was the brilliant first single to be credited to Los Orientales Director M Chavez 

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Los Orientales de Paramonga

If you've only heard a handful of Peruvian psychedelic cumbia tunes chances are this is one of them. Iconic is right! Now here's some more confusing information about this Peruvian scene. I'm not a hundred percent sure about this but I think in the 70s there were two groups called Los Orientales de Paramonga playing a very similar style. I cannot work out if the two groups are related, if one was a splinter group or what the story is. One version of Los Orientales was led by Maximiliano Chavez while the other was perhaps led by Victor Ramirez. Perhaps at one stage Chavez and Ramirez were in the same group then splintered off into two bands, causing this confusion. Maybe they're the same guy (?).

I finally found an article that clears up some of the confusion about the information on Discogs and other websites. It turns out I'm right Chavez and Ramirez were both original members of Los Orientales de Paramonga formed in 1968. It is assumed they both appear on the debut single on the Dinsa label from 1970 Lobos Al Escape.


The rest is pretty vague. Sometime in 1971 singles started appearing on the Sono Radio label by Conj Tropical Los Orientales de Paramongo as directed by by Victor Ramirez with the writing credits also going to Victor Ramirez. This is the beginning of the 2nd Los Orientales combo who would run in parallel with the Maximiliano Chavez led version with the same name.


It must have been confusing for Peruvian fans at the time too because the exact same tune (I'm pretty sure it's also the exact same recording) turned up on different labels with different writing credits. This Captura de Lobos single on Dinsa is credited to M Chavez and performed by Los Orientales directed by Maximiliano Chavez

Tuesday 20 December 2022

La Danza Del Petrolero - LOS WEMBLER'S DE IQUITOS

If you could do a basic equation of what Peruvian cumbia (aka psych cumbia) is it would be surf/fuzz/wah-wah guitars playing the melody line that in traditional Colombian cumbia would have been played by the accordion plus awesome danceable latin rhythms. Sure it's much more than that. I mean if I was an ethnomusicologist I'd be able to tell you the different types of latin rhythms utilised, their geographic origin and historical importance. Then there's Andean and Amazonian folk influences particularly in the singing style. Synthesisers increasingly play a role as the the style develops into the late 70s and 80s. There's a social and political element too but I suppose because the lyrics aren't in English that's less tangible.

Anyhow Los Wembler's original version of La Danza Del Petrolero is a totally infectious toe tapper with its very peculiar wall of rhythmic sound containing all sorts of chirps and fizzy noises bubbling away. From what I can gather the brief lyric translates as "This is the dance of the oil tanker. Where the black gold reigns" which makes sense as there was an oil boom in Peru at the time. 

The Los Mirlos cover of La Danza Del Petrolero came out a year later. The guitars are a bit more off kilter here. It's a wobbly psych cumbia journey that Los Mirlos make their own. I probably enjoy the Los Wember's maximalist rhythm more but the guitars in the Los Mirlos version are pretty noice so I guess it's like a draw. Then again if I had to pick one it would be the Los Wembler's de Iquitos original.  

Monday 19 December 2022

Sonido Amazonico - Los Mirlos/Los Wembler's de Iquitos

It's been 20 years since this tune turned up on the great Vampi Soul compilation Back To Peru. Honestly it feels like longer. Anyway it's summer time so we gotta have the Peruvian cumbia tunes at the ready. Once upon a time I used to spend my summer holidays sipping cocktails in the tropics. It all seems like a dream now. The last 10 years have been a bloody health nightmare. I need to dream in hope that maybe soon I can at least make it out to the backyard and have a cold beer with old friends. This classic 1975 recording from Los Mirlos is on at least 3 compilations in my collection.

The original version of Sonido Amazonica from 1974 appeared on the Decibel label. I read recently about a beef between Los Wember's de Iquitos and Los Mirlos that maybe ended up in a seven year court-case or something insane like that. I can't actually confirm if that's true because I now can't find the source. What we do know for sure though is that Los Mirlos became famous and much more successful than Los Wembler's after recording a couple of their tunes including today's theme tune Sondido Amazonico. It all seems pretty shonky. 

I do realise I've got this all arse about but the Los Mirlos version is the one we all know and love but hey the Sanchez brothers of Los Wembler's were there right at the beginning of Peru's electric conversion of cumbia in the 60s alongside fellow pioneering legends Los Destellos and Juaneco Y Su Combo. 

Sunday 18 December 2022

Macchu Picchu

I was listening to this 2022 Vampi Soul compilation 14 MAGníficos Bailables today and the above boogaloo jam turned up at the end. It's an impressive piano and percussion pile up party. Coincidentally Macchu Picchu is in the news today as there is some kind of uprising in Peru but getting a good comprehensive news report on events is "surprise surprise" impossible to find. What are the chances the good old CIA are involved here? All these reporters care about is Westerners being stranded in foreign riot zones. What the fuck happened to news media? 

Anyway for what it's worth Vampi Soul in the last year or two have been reissuing a stack of stuff from the ye olde Peruvian record label MAG.

Wednesday 14 December 2022


We all know Vladimer Putin is nuts and that NATO have been taunting Russia since the 90s but this goes out to, as Jimmy Dore would say, the WAR PIGS Joe Biden and his Democrat Party, including sell-outs Bernie and AOC. Nearly a hundred billion dollars of American money has been given to Ukraine's war effort. The Ukraine being a country led by a dodgy corrupt regime who have a battalion in their army run by actual neo-nazis. Horrific war crimes have been reportedly committed by certain Ukrainian voluntary forces. Surprise, surprise that weapons sent by the US to Ukraine have shown up in the hands of terrorists in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands. Why are we in the West being asked to cheerlead the military-industrial complex and this retarded proxy war against Russia? Fuck off war pigs.

*Oh and don't mention Yemen. 

Anyway how good is this Black Sabbath performance of War Pigs? So tight and on the money! Outstanding magnificence. 

Sunday 11 December 2022


Spell Casting Summat (2011)
In anticipation of the usual Christmas tradition ie. the imminent release of the new Moon Wiring Club LP, I've been listening to some older tunes by Ian Hodgson. He is the one man band behind the MWC moniker. I think I say it every year in December but why aren't Moon Wiring Club in the Pitchforks and Wire Magazines or featured anywhere because really they should be as big as Depeche Mode, I'm sure. Since the release of their classic debut An Audience Of Art Deco Eyes in 2007 they have had a non-stop annual release schedule that has been top notch quality all the way. 

2011's Clutch It LIke A Gonk was probably my my most neglected and least listened to MWC concoction almost a designated relic. Recently however I've come to appreciate its perhaps more streamlined and slightly changed approach. They call these albums transition records. A catalyst for the catalyst. Gonk was slightly askew sonically to what had come before and that would remain a constant from then on for this eerie aural project. MWC strayed and expanded into off-beaten territories but they kept enough of their established charms so as to be the changing same. How could this be? Spooky sonic alchemists they are and magic tricks are their game and their sorcery secret is changing while staying the same.

Anyway how good is the above track Spell Casting Summat from the Clutch It Like A Gonk cd. Hallucinatory dark ambient steppy electro garage dub kinda jam.

Anglo Saxon Androids (2022)
So this is the teaser for the new Moon Wiring Club LP Medieval Ice Cream. It sounds like it's going to be a foray into the outer limits of plagued electronic psychedelia with the added appearance of creepy ancient goblins & ghouls from deep space. 

Make Yourself At Home (2012)
Here's a golden oldie from the haunted hit parade. Genuinely eldritch and unsettling. Moon Wiring Club hitting upon perfection here. From this point on they would be in a class of their own.

Thursday 8 December 2022

Iron Man - Black Sabbath

My birthday theme tune. I am Iron Man after an overnight iron transfusion. Thanks to the transfusionists. Haven't heard this in ages and fuck me how good? All of the puzzle pieces! Bill fucking Ward! Geezer the Butler, Tony the goddamn Iommi and Ozzy and the Orange amps and the riff-a-rama and the drums and the Ozzy sings and the colour and the hair and guitar bits that follow bass bits and the tone and the sci-fi narrative and the heavy downward vibe and the guitar bits that follow Ozzy vocal bits and the perfectly in the pocket-ness of the rhythm and the little freak outs and the speed ups and the slow downs and the threads and it's just the best. 

Sunday 4 December 2022

Retro Retro - Future

Yeah yeah shonky dancing in shonky clothes but wait for the strangest moment when the studio cameras become the dancers to the Moog-y-licious hauntological score. It's all a bit cheesy yet uncanny too.