Worn-out record: Oktubre
A while ago I was about to talk about this album, which is to talk about the band (Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota, considered by many people the greatest in the rich history of Argentine rock), which is talking about Indio Solari, lyricist, singer, face of the group, and one of the most special artistic expressions of the continent and the language. I did not do it before because I wanted to finish reading his memoirs, published last year by Sudamericana, in interview format and with the title Memories that lie a little. Total, to realize that I am not going to say anything different now than what I would have said before reading them.
One is attracted to gossip, of course; and it's OK. It is always rich to look out to see which Beatles record Borges preferred, or what Lezama said to any of the groupies who visited him in the living room of his house in Trocadero, but strictly speaking, the only place where you will have to look for what a Author has to say about himself, and about anything, it is in the work. The work, if it is good and true, is the only space where the author can be surprised without a mask. He will always be discovered, even if he is hidden in the plot or the characters. The author-person, who is the one who gives interviews, will have the costume at hand, and will use it at their discretion. The author-author no. The author-author will be able to tell the therapist whatever lie he wants, who will always break down when I tell him the dream, unless he is a bad author, there are many.
The lyrics of the Indian are known for their enigmatic, encrypted, symbolic tone. He himself has referred to his style as "ambiguous." But don't get dizzy. Don't be fooled by the Indian-person, who knows as much about the Indian-author as any of us. Ambiguity is more an attribute of political discourses than of artistic ones. For me, at least, the idea of the ambiguous pulls me more towards the indefinite. True art is always defined, and that of Patricio Rey is true popular art. That the same line reaches different resonances depending on the sensitivity where it is posed does not mean that it is ambiguous. If Indio's lyrics were ambiguous, they would not put 300,000 people into a city of 100,000 (as happened in Olavarría a few years ago), nor would they fill River's field. At the Los Redonditos concerts everyone knew what they were talking about. If you put imagination in Solari's lyrics, and a bit of context, if you clean the spirit glass well before seeing, you will realize that they are clearer than an informative note.
In Música para pastillas third track of Oktubre (Del Cielito, 1986), it is said, in one of the most exciting moments of the album: “Pretty rockers, educated / with great expenses, educated / Emboquen the free shot / that the good ones returned / and they are shooting horror movies ”. There is nothing ambiguous there, you guys forgive me. We are in 1986, in Argentina, three years after democracy returned, in the process of uncovering it — that cultural revelry that comes after any dictatorship. El Indio is in that verse, with its acidity, the classic pessimistic party pooper, reminding the happy drunks that in the end we will have to pay the bill. But let's not close the window of meanings. Let's shake the almanac and the world map. In Buenos Aires, in Havana and in Singapore, there will always be someone to wear the nice, polite rocker outfit, and there will always be those who claim to be good, and actually shoot horror movies. That is not being ambiguous. That is being a poet.
The pop melody, its choreability, is one of the keys to Patricio Rey's success. Sometimes, as in Pickup Music, the guitar, the sax, and the vocals, in that order, make different lines, each one more catchy than the other. You can hum any of the three, that the one next to you will recognize what song it is at the moment. Almost all songs have at least one of these choreable segments, which function as an identity card. From here it is understood that they are not complex melodies, if not the public will not sing them as if they were the Liverpool fans. Enfermedad por coronavirus (COVID‑19)
The ricotero shows (masses, they were called), were a unique cultural incident, at least in Latin America. I lack information, but I have never seen a musical proposal with that type of lyrical charge reach the massive levels of Los Redondos, and, furthermore, independently (because they have not signed for any label in more than two decades). Neither Almendra, nor the best Charly, nor Silvio when he filled stadiums. Nobody, from poetry, from the lyric that plays more for the team than the sensory, has ever moved so many people. One of the highlights of the recitals came with Jijiji, the seventh track on the album. The madness was unleashed in the chorus, which, yes, it is funky, but it is not the one from Smells Like Teen Spirit to create such an imbalance. And also, it is not that she says: "Up, jump and sweat!". What the chorus of Jijiji says is: "I did not dream it / You were running adrift / I did not dream it / The blind eyes wide open / Do not look, please / and do not turn on the light / The image disfigured you." One hundred thousand people gone crazy. That can only happen in the Argentine Republic.
Oktubre was my first Los Redondos album. I looked for the discography after a young man from Buenos Aires showed me his tattoo with fundamentalist devotion, in which you could see the group's logo (the one with the letters P and R, and the crown). He was skeptical, me, for two reasons. First of all, because, believing myself at that time the wisest of Argentine rock in Cuba, I had never crossed paths with the band. Second, because he was old enough to distrust fundamentalist devotions. So instead of entering the phonographic collection from the beginning — which is what I do almost always — I went directly to what was considered the best work. If I didn't like it, bye Rounds. In those terms I turned the plate.
The taxi was one of those converted Willys that gather people in the back, but I was in the prime passenger seat. I could look at any specific point out the window and attend only to what was happening in my ears. The first cut, Fuegos de Octubre, passed without noise other than the explosions at the beginning. What happened next, which is why I talk about this now, began, as almost always, with a riff by Skay Beilinson, master of the right hand, and with the Indian saying: “Once I made love to him / to a Dracula in heels ”. I have never heard this album again with the same face at once.
Carlos M. Mérida
Oidor. Coleccionista sin espacio. Leguleyo. Temeroso de las abejas y de los vientos huracanados.