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Gerardo Manuel & El Humo - Apocallypsis (1970)


Gerardo Manuel & El Humo to jedna z legend andyjskiej psychodelii rodem z Peru, które zrodziło przecież także Traffic Sound czy We All Together oraz niepowtarzalny protopunkowy skład, Los Saicos. Apocallypsis to debiut formacji Manuela, przynoszący solidną porcję czysto rockowej psychodelii utrzymanej w nieco hendriksowskim klimacie - z dominującymi partiami wyrazistej, obudowanej efektami gitary Enrique Aguirre. Garażowe brzmienia, zelektryfikowana ekspresja, surowa produkcja i proste riffy to podstawowe wyznaczniki stylu El Humo - sięgających także po covery Hendriksa i Bacharacha. Muzyka nie porywa, lecz ujmuje szczerością, z jaką Peruwiańczycy starają się odnaleźć własne miejsce w świecie rock'n'rolla i psychodelicznego undergroundu, który choć niezwykle pojemny, kusił nierzadko łatwymi schematami i efekciarską oryginalnością na poziomie banalnych oczywistości. Gerardo Manuel i jego koledzy nie zawsze potrafili ich uniknąć, ale ocaliła ich wiara w prostotę rockandrollowego przekazu, którą dostrzega się także po latach. Pomijając zaś wszystko inne, "Apocallypsis" posiada z pewnością, obok albumów Los Vidrios Quebrados i Cilibrinas Do Eden, jedną z najbardziej atrakcyjnych okładek w dziejach latynoskiej psychodelii! (Dariusz Brzostek)


This group had an important pre-dating history for the Peruvian psychedelic Rock scene. In 1966 Los Shain's were formed, with guitarist Enrique "Pico" Ego Aguirre. This group released three LP's in garage psych style. After some line-up changes in 1968 the group split. One part formed Los Nuevos Chain's, which recorded one cover album and some 45s, and another part The (St.Thomas) Pepper Smelter, which recorded one LP, another important Peruvian Rock album, and some 45s on the El Virrey label, before they broke up. Gerardo Manuel  got a job at the label and formed his own band (influenced by Question Mark & The Mystirians, Grand Funk and Hendrix), with two ex-Los Shain's members : Enrique "Pico" Ego Aguirre on guitars (and organ) and Jorge "Coco" Pomar on bass mostly (and rhythm guitar) with Freddy "Puro" Fuentes on drums. Quickly after this Pico formed his own band Pax, a hard rock blues group which released one album. The group made a second album called “Machu Picchu 2000" (Polydor - 1971) and a third, ?Quién es el Mayor? (1973). 




The album, even when it is listed that half of the songs are self-penned, for a large part it still sounds like a cover band who is still in the process of finding their own sound, in the styles they play, while having already all the various elements to make it. Not all the tracks are rock and “psychedelic”, because the last few tracks are even more mainstream, not even as too successful versions, but the largest part, in a rather hardrock style is surely interesting.

The strong opener, “Apocallypsis”, is a great 60’s psych track about the end of times, with its own drama, great electric guitars, and a smooth underlying drive, pushing towards some empowered rock riffs. Another track with strong elements is “Looking For Tomorrow” with its Black Sabbath-like bass, and guitar riffs that could lead to a more deliberate choice for hardrock. The song “Lonely Night” seems to be mixed with elements of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda”. They also covered “Power of Soul” from Jimi Hendrix. On the more romantic “(I will bring you) flowers in the morning” (from Dandys ?), a song with additional organ and strings, Manuel sings more like David Bowie. The Hendrix influences and rock not always finds its best and strongest forms elsewhere, and later tracks fall a bit apart in 60’s and mainstream song style references, the creative movements tend to make something different and succeed in making its point. The album with its process is worth discovering. (progressive.homestead)

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