Laiojan Sebastian was the band that made me decide to cover Uruguayan unsigned artists on MusicKO. I learned of their existence in late 2009. I had recently became acquainted with Ismael Pardo Di Nardo, the drummer and percussionist of the band. His older brother Andrés was the lead singer and sole composer of the songs the band (a very representative exponent of River Plate rock) was to record for a self-titled debut that was sadly never to be released. I recall the impression that the CD caused on me when Ismael played the first song (“Despierta”) [Wake Up] over his speakers – it was a truly alive piece of music. It felt as if the message of the lyrics had been deprived of its mobility by the indifference that befell the whole album, but its ability to move others remained unscathed. I wouldn’t say that I become an awakened one that day. But I felt less dormant for certain.
Of course, that the disc hit me so hard when I first listened to it was no coincidence – not when I learned that the bass player and the lead guitarist were Andrés Puppo and Alejandro Reyes, two professional musicians that had been part of the local scene for some time now.
Another thing that caught my immediate fancy was the cover art. Andrés had designed it, and a well-known Argentinean comic artist put his thumb into motion to bring the nominal character to life. The manga influence was palpable by a mile, and the Iojan Sebastian that we can see pictured there seemed the closest to a living paradox to me, with a mien that expressed as many emotions as the ones it counter-expressed. I could imagine him saying “It is all in vain. Nothing means anything except everything. And you can get everything in life except nothing. But” – he would continue with a grin – “there is always a way to get anything.”
And if “Despierta” was a song that told of latent possibilities, the remaining songs were to deal with their realization. One of the clearest examples was to be “Jhonny Balón”, a fairy story about a child soccer prodigy that dies during a match only to resurrect and score at the last minute as his team reaches the final many years later. The song offers up a raving mixture of funky passages with murga drumming (conveying the tragedy of the protagonist’s death) and in the last section (the match) Andrés emulates a commentator over real ambience noise. Continue reading