The Scratched Record: Giros
Ya hablé del puro y de sus cosas. Aquí va otra. El viejo es una de esas personas que puede construirse una verdad invariable a partir de la opinión de alguien. Basta con que sea emitida en el momento y lugar justos, y él esté con el ánimo preciso para acogerla eternamente. Cuando eso pasa, olvídate. Los hechos podrían golpearle la cara, el mismísimo emisor podría retractarse de su opinión, que ya sería tarde si él llegó a procesarla en modo mandamiento.
Una de estas verdades que se armó fue que Fito Páez era un hombre adelantado 15 años a su tiempo. ¡Ojo! ¡No son 20 ni 10! ¡Son 15! Que no se confundan los evaluadores de tipos precoces. ¿De dónde lo sacó? No sé. Habría que revisar las secciones de cultura de los periódicos de 1987, y ver si se dijo algo parecido con motivo del primer concierto del rosarino en La Habana, o rastrear a los más de 5000 asistentes al Karl Marx (entre los que estaba mi padre) y ver si alguien recuerda haber dicho eso en el pasillo o en el baño de hombres. Lo cierto es que si tú lo arrinconas y le pides que te defina a Fito como artista, me juego la vida a que va a soltar el latiguillo “Un hombre adelantado 15 años a su tiempo”.
This album was not so unfamiliar to me when I first heard it. I had already met 11 and 6 and Cable a Tierra in two live works: Euforia (Warner Music, 1996) and Trovadores (CBS, 1986), respectively, the first by the Argentine musician himself, the second by his Cuban colleague Santiago Feliú , with whom he also shared the stage there. They are two piano songs, which have a different sound from the rest. The general sound of the album is more that of Tachycardia or Narcissus and Quasimodo, and the change in the sequence of the tracks is noticeable, as if the fourth and sixth were traveling as stowaways. That never bothered me much, probably because they were already familiar to me, which resulted in them being left out of the discovery and appropriation process. Consequently, they do not come to mind when I think of Giros (Emi, 1985), as if they were not part of it.
11 y 6 is, as Páez himself has stated, his Yesterday. When I sit around with the guitar on the sofa, I first tune it and then, as part of that same ritual, I quickly play two songs that, having played them for so long, have induced me to know each of its curves, each one of its beauty spots have already become the mold that tells me how my viola should sound. One is Little Daytime Serenade, by the genius of San Antonio settled in Havana, and the other 11 y 6. It is the typical theme that its authors come to abhor. I could no longer say, convinced, that I like it, or perhaps that I don't like it. It is there, it is part of the body. When have you ever seen someone say "how I like my foot!" or "how bored I am of my hands!"? You don't think in those terms about your own structure. Well, the same thing happens to me with the story of the boys who met by chance in a cafe.
I never learn Cable a Tierra with the guitar, and then in the parks I sang it a cappella. I began with my eyes wide open: "If you are between coming back and not coming back ...". Later, I thought I was at the Obras stadium. I opened them again in the last stanza (which is the same as the beginning, but with more sweat, more voluptuousness, more blood on his face), after having fervently shouted: "If you are like blinded by power ...!" During the course of acting, I was always afraid that my friends, callous barbarians, precious sacrilegious nerds, for the fuck, would just leave me looking foolish and take the bottle away.
Giros is another song that I had already grabbed before copying Fito's discography, although in a less conventional way. I had seen a novice Páez on some evening variety show, more hair and glasses than people, hiding behind the keyboards on the left side of an Argentine television set from the 1980s, playing him. I was very young, but I suppose that I would already have a medium soft fiber, ready enough for the accident of seduction, because the image and the music gave me that atonal, quiet fascination, which occurs when we only observe the strange, a few minutes before of the trial. At that moment the mouth of the eyes opens, it dismounts from astonishment, and the brain is not processing, it just receives, sprawled, until the show ends. The impact is so strong that it cannot do both at the same time.
It must be among the songs I've heard the most in my life, and it still doesn't bore me. If I think quickly of others like that, I can think of Promises on the bidet, by Charly or Bacalao con pan, by the Irakere. They are works that have anticorrosive, antifungal and blanket, they could be stored in the most humid corner, or remain for years out in the open, where neither rust nor verdigris enters. This is a great album, from Cabo de San Antonio to Punta de Maisí, but after the overture, none of the remaining eight pieces reaches the same level (not even I come to offer my heart, which is an endearing song, despite all the efforts that Cuban pandemic television is making to turn it into a cell phone ringtone). It is that Giros, the theme, has the delicacy, the city lordship of tango, but also the gaucho toughness of the Pampean folklore. He's everything Fito was at that time: a provincial getting used to the slight vibration of the subway on his heels.
It cannot be said that this song sounds good, nor that it has an exquisite production, as it happened with most of what Fito did in the '90s. For example, Daniel Wirtz's drums sound dry, muffled, as if they were afraid to sound, and they also added this strange effect, looking for impact, which unbalances the performance, making it seem that the only thing that sounds is the snare. However, I love the timbre of the album. I think if it sounded good it wouldn't be the same anymore. Is personal. My link with that timbre goes beyond its technical qualities. This is the Fito that I prefer. That of the '80s, that of the return of democracy to Argentina; despite what El amor despues del amor or Circo Beat meant (for his career and for half the Spanish-speaking world), and for having sent me Abre with the phlegm of a serial killer. This Fito, who is a bit more of a poet, who said in 1987 “Rayos de sol, a la hora del sol”.
Every time I listen to the album I think of the old man, and that perhaps, for once in my life, I have to pay attention to him. Not because the Argentine has broken some paradigm, nor he has found the secret of Coca Cola 15 years earlier, but because in 1985, about to turn 22, he had reached this stage of lyrical maturity: “A bandoneon sounds. It seems like the other guy's but it's me, I keep walking the same, whistling a rusty tango ”. That is Fito Páez's relationship with time.
Carlos M. Mérida
Oidor. Coleccionista sin espacio. Leguleyo. Temeroso de las abejas y de los vientos huracanados.