Posts Tagged ‘Chile’

The long-awaited fourth full-length by Föllakzoid isn’t merely a recalibration for the band. It is a multidimensional reconsideration of what the process of songwriting, performance, and creating a work of recorded music can be.

Föllakzoid grows via depuration, aiming with each record to fill longer spaces of time with fewer and fewer elements. The creative perspective of the band has always been about unlearning the narrative and musical knowledge that shape the physical and digital formats and conceptions available, both visually and musically in order to make a time-space metric structure that dissolves both the author and the narrative paradigms. “We found our sonic and metric identity even more in these songs than in our previous attempts,” guitarist/singer Domingæ Garcia-Huidobro explains.

Unlike past Föllakzoid records, that were done in single takes with the full band, this record took three months to construct out of more than 60 separate stems – guitars, bass, drums, synthesizers, and vocals, all recorded in isolation. Producer Atom TM, who was not present for recording, was then asked to re-organize the four sequences of stems without any length, structural restrictions or guidelines. Those sequences ultimately became the four long tracks that appear on I.

The result of this was a set of songs where neither the band’s, nor the producer’s, structural vision primarily shaped the metric or tonal space shifts, but where both were still subliminally present in each of the parts that form the structure and the frequency modulations that guide them.

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“We invite you to join us in sharing the experience of being led by this non-rational, sonic artform and its energy. It is also an invitation to connect once again with your inner master and his intuition, erasing the systematic rationalization that usually follows creative forces when perceived, to guide you on this holographic simultaneous simulation where reality is rooted in,” Domingae added.
released August 1st, 2019

It was 10 years ago, in a house on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile, that Ives Sepúlveda Minho and Manuel Parra started playing music together, and The Holydrug Couple was effectively born. A decade later, they’ve made “Hyper Super Mega”, an album that represents the culmination of everything they’ve learned in their years as a band.

If Hyper Super Mega feels like a classic pop record, that’s because Sepúlveda and Parra spent much of the recording process thinking about the classic pop records of the ’60s and ’70s. Masterpieces by bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Fleetwood Mac were all reference points, not always explicitly in sound, but certainly in spirit. The duo approached the mythos of the “classic album” from their own inimitable psych-pop perspective, hoping to make a record that felt authentically like The Holydrug Couple that could fit into the same canon. By that criterion, Hyper Super Mega is a massive success. All the elements that made the band’s previous albums Noctuary and Moonlust great are distilled to their purest essence and rendered in obsessive detail.

Not only is Hyper Super Mega the most fully realized Holydrug Couple album to date, it’s also the best-sounding. In the three years since the release of the relatively low-budget Moonlust, the band went out and got a bunch of new gear, including high-end mics and synths. For Sepúlveda, that was revelatory. “It gave me a wider palette of sounds that I wasn’t aware of,” he explains. “That helped me to center more on details and the different emotions that different sounds and ways of singing can give you.”

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That expanded palette led to songs like “Waterfalls” and “I’ll Only Say This,” which trade the bedroom vibes of the band’s earlier work for widescreen pop bliss. Even the experiments, like the electronic-meets-acoustic “Easy,” are as self-assured as anything the band has done. Hyper Super Mega is a capsule history of The Holydrug Couple, incorporating a decade of experience recording, touring the world, and absorbing the sights and sounds of their native Chile. It marks the 10th anniversary of a band whose next 10 years look even brighter.

Releases September 14th, 2018

The Holydrug Couple: <i>Hyper Super Mega</i> Review

The new album by The Holydrug Couple, the decade-old music project of Chilean musicians Ives Sepúlveda Minho and Manuel Parra, addresses the constant distractions of the world, whether they be technological, cultural or economical. According to a press release, the band was wandering with a sense of haphazardness, so instead they turned the loud world that caused their mental burnout into their inspiration.

Songs like “Waterfalls” and “I’ll Only Say This” unite modern electro-pop with classic psych-pop and contain lyrics that point to a human race that’s often void of any meaningful connection. On “I’ll Only Say This,” lead vocalist Sepúlveda laments a world that’s addicted to technology (“Resting on a bed made of screens / Anywhere that you can find it”) and full of self-important people that think they know everything.

The harmonious pop vocals of the title track are reminiscent of Jagwar Ma’s Gabriel Winterfield, the twisting distortion and joyful, animated vocals of “Waterfalls” harken back to Primal Scream’s Screamadelica, while the lush psych of “Chevalier” has rumblings of Innerspeaker era Tame Impala. The album’s strongest chorus appears on “I’ll Only Say This,” which explodes with such beautiful, rhapsodic melodies and Sepúlveda’s detectable vocal conviction.

The record’s swirling layers of guitars, bass, vocals, percussion and synths are very dense, which works to both their advantage and disadvantage. The title track bursts with diverse, bright sounds, but “Ikebana Telephone Line” feels claustrophobic with its vocals overshadowed. As for the record’s instrumental interludes, “Lucifer’s Coat” charms with its clash of Medieval keys and electro beats, but the sci-fi flick vibe of “Western Shade” feels misplaced, as epic as it sounds.

The words that make up the album title point to both the album’s vibrancy and dark underbelly. On one hand, those flashy words reflect the album’s rapid paintball fire of colors and on the other hand, those words are indicative of the record’s lyrics that reflect an exhaustion from uber capitalism and unrelenting sensory overload.

They might have used a lot of bells and whistles to get the distorted, feverish electronic-psych sound of Hyper Super Mega, but they manage to retain and evoke so much humanity—and perhaps that’s this record’s greatest strength. They don’t use a wide palette of sounds and effects as a crutch—rather they use it as a vehicle for transcendence and as an high-spirited expression of society’s rife conundrums.

For III, the band wanted to expand their sound while building an atmosphere with mainly monochords and reiteration. After recording and mixing the album on their own at their studio at BYM Records, they partnered with German electronic maestro Atom TM to flesh out the album’s synth parts. Most of the sounds he provided were atonal electronic sounds, aiming for concrete frequencies and sampled organic glitches. (The Korg synthesizer Atom TM plays on this record was used by Kraftwerk on tour in the ’80s.)

III is a four-part minimal sound voyage in which you can hear Föllakzoid’s musical language developing into something more upbeat, obscure, and sharp, yet even simpler in terms of elements.

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Originally released March 31st, 2015
Sacred Bones Records

Chilean rock trio La Hell Gang‘s early EP release “Out Of Place” is the soundtrack to this strange new land.

Earning high praise from their debut, 2010’s Just What Is Real, La Hell Gang have traded in the cleaner, ’60s-indebted sonics which populated that record with something more complex, a murkier palate that instills these songs with languid mystery.  Their second album “Thru Me Again” wades through these danger-infested waters with otherworldly grace, hanging back in the frame while their brand of laced blues wander fills the room with an unassailable vibe of concentrated lust. Providing a counterpart to the sounds of fellow travelers in their home base of Santiago, such as Watchout! and Föllakzoid, Thru Me Again was the product of a band mastering its own language, and learning that the tender moments of their music can go as deep as their proverbial paint-peelers. You might be visiting this new world, but La Hell Gang lives there, knows every crater, all the flora and fauna, and have generously offered to take you on a journey of their architected existence. You would be wise to follow.

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Imagine a still oasis on a man-made Martian desert, saturated with rust and red clay. Gravity has shifted slightly, though the atmosphere is warm and dense, and everything around you is moving more slowly than you are used to. You’re just waking up to this world, a realm not entirely beyond your comprehension, but all the same, part of a new reality to contend with and romanticize. Chilean rock trio La Hell Gang’s second album Thru Me Again is the soundtrack to this strange new land.

This Chilean gang of three clearly know their rock ‘n’ roll and have produced an album of meaty, psych/blues inspired tunes with deep, slow grooves. The guitar and bass combo deliver such a cool and intoxicating vibe that you’ll quickly be ‘in the zone’ – and loving it.

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Earning high praise from their debut, 2010’s Just What Is Real, La Hell Gang have traded in the cleaner, ’60s-indebted sonics which populated that record with something more complex, a murkier palate that instills these eight songs with languid mystery. Thru Me Again wades through these danger-infested waters with otherworldly grace, hanging back in the frame while their brand of laced blues wander fills the room with an unassailable vibe of concentrated lust. Providing a counterpart to the sounds of fellow travelers in their homebase of Santiago, such as Watchout! and Föllakzoid, Thru Me Again is the product of a band mastering its own language, and learning that the tender moments of their music can go as deep as their proverbial paint-peelers. You might be visiting this new world, but La Hell Gang lives there, knows every crater, all the flora and fauna, and have generously offered to take you on a journey of their architected existence. You would be wise to follow.

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Soundtrack for Pantanal was written, composed, arranged, performed, recorded and produced by Ives Sepúlveda. On their 4th LP (Or their second on BYM Records) Holydrug Couple writes an unreal group of songs for one of the best non-existing movies of all time

Drums, voice and lyrics in ”You are me (Love theme)” by Manuel Parra.

Recorded at From the Bed between march and september of 2014.
”Pantanal theme” was recorded at Gala’s piano in Buenos Aires.
Additional recordings by Nes at BYM Records studio.

Stereo Embers TRACK OF THE DAY – “I Don’t Feel Like It” by The Holydrug Couple

Taken from the album “Moonlust”, coming out may 11th 2015 via Sacred Bones. The perfectly named The Holydrug Couple to SEM’s lysergic lair. Adopting an hypnotic and invigorating blend of tuneful pop deliverance that The Flaming Lips only remotely wish they were still capable of, The Holydrug Couple, on the strength of just this track alone, have become our own lodestar of all that is groovy and inspirational. The droney goodness obtained on this song could, if we’re not careful, lead us to abandon all our worldly goods and join a hedonistic ashram on the outskirts of Santiago, holding hands and dancing around the bonfire with Follakzoid and dreaming of a fresh new world. Click it and float away on waves of hope and celestial harmony.

The third full length from Chilean two-piece The Holydrug Couple, ‘Moonlust’ falls well outside the boundaries of the prevailing psych-rock idiom. In addition to French soundtrack and Gainsbourg influences, they cite inspiration from the soul ballads of Aretha Franklin, 80s South American synthpop acts like Los Encargados, Virus, and Los Prisioneros, and the contemporary French electro of Air. A shimmering and languid psych delight.

The Holydrug Couple began in Santiago, Chile in 2008, a little over a half-decade after Ives and Manu met for the first time. The two young friends hadn’t seen each other in a few years when Manu texted Ives to tell him that he bought a drum kit. They started jamming, and a week later, the band was formed. A flurry of songwriting activity followed, culminating in 2011’s Ancient Land EP and 2013’s Noctuary, both released on Sacred Bones Records.

“Moonlust” boldly treads territory that those earlier psych-indebted recordings only hinted at, especially the dreamy French movie soundtracks of the ’70s and ’80s and the discography of Serge Gainsbourg.

“I had clear what I wanted to revisit from the last album, as well as what I didn’t want to do again,” Ives said. “I definitely wanted to make a good-sounding record, clear and heavy. I wanted to get away as much as possible from the ‘band’ sound. The last album wasn’t recorded live, but I tried to make it sound as if it had been. This time, I wanted to make an electronic-like album instead.”

The result is an album in the self-recorded “Moonlust” that falls well outside the boundaries of the prevailing psych-rock idiom. In addition to the French soundtrack and Gainsbourg influences, they cite inspiration from the soul ballads of Aretha Franklin, ’80s South American synthpop acts like Los Encargados, Virus, and Los Prisioneros, and the contemporary French electro group Air. The songs are streamlined hook delivery machines, without any baroque arrangements or unnecessary flourishes to get in the way of their ultimate goal.

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To Ives, the lyrical themes on the record represent “feeling lust, desire, for something that you see when it’s dark but it’s so far away that it’s unreachable. It’s an unrealistic target, like God, maybe, or a dream archetype of a goddess. It’s the feeling of melancholy that you can’t fulfill with anything.”

If that feeling sounds anything like the songs on Moonlust, then here’s hoping that he and Manu keep reaching out into that cosmic void anyway. Its a gorgeous record ,Languid, shimmery, indie-Floyd sounds. Like when Air had a stab at The Floyd, but way better! Just lovely, mellow, melodic music. Definitely worth checking.

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The Holydrug Couple have done a lot of growing since their first release with Sacred Bones Records in 2011. The “couple,” consisting of Ives Sepúlveda and Manuel Parra recorded their second album “Noctuary” in Santiago, Chile. They put together a home studio and recorded the entire album themselves, from start to finish. Feeling that no one else had been able to capture their sound, Ives decided to take a risk and produce and engineer the album on his own. After four months of obsessively working and barely leaving the house, Ives emerged with a final product of which the band is truly proud. All of this hard work has manifested in a more elaborated, astral sounding album than its predecessor, Awe. While “Awe” and their “Ancient Land EP” had a bluesier, woodsy sound, “Noctuary” plays out like a slow motion 60’s beach party dream that you never want to wake from.