Month In Review – October 2011

October’s highlights included the release of Pablo Farago’s “Mantras” (a compilation of some of his finest work, as recorded over the past ten years), a post on electronic music pioneer Daphne Oram, and an article about the day Manhattan thought Radiohead would play a free concert. If anything, that post is worth a good look because it showcases how quickly a mere rumor can spread online nowadays, until everybody is repeating something that is plain wrong as if it were the gospel truth.

And as far as websites for music lovers were concerned, the startups I reviewed on October included ListnPlay, LyricStatus and MyDjSpace. And the one iPad app that I got to feature was WildChords, a game from these great folks at Ovelin that lets you learn to play the guitar. And by “great folks”, I mean it – just look at the interview they gave me! Thanks, guys!

And fans of Joy Division should check what happens when our favorite Mancunians meet some playmobil

On November, I’m certain to review Vincent Vega’s self-debut album. I know them personally, I’ve been to a good couple of their shows, and I’ve pogoed with delirious abandon right at the front, along with the horde of misfits that follows them through light and shade.

Well, not really. They are an acoustic duo, and their live shows could perfectly be the recipient of a Nobel peace prize.

Vincent Vega

But I’ve been there, and I’ve greatly enjoyed their music throughout. I’ll be delighted to feature them on MusicKO this month. Check the blog later next week to read about them!

Month In Review – February 2011

This month I published one of the better-received posts of the blog, both locally and internationally. I am talking about the review of Erika Chuwoki’s debut EP, “La Corporación”. Everybody remarked how enjoyable it was, but I felt bad afterwards for having slammed my beloved Badly Drawn Boy in the process, and I even wrote a post to counterbalance the criticisms I leveled at “Born In The UK” afterwards. Not that I sleep better at night or anything like that, but respect where it’s due. When taken as a whole with the music videos that were shot, the album certainly has its moments.

Also (and as announced in January) this month saw its fair share of interviews: two with entrepreneurs whose startups I have already reviewed (Josh Roberts from Bandhack and the whole TuneCrank team), and one with legendary Argentinean guitarist (and founding member of Uruguayan rock band Níquel) Pablo Faragó. You can read that interview both in English and in Spanish. Continue reading

Pablo Faragó (Interview)

(Hagan click aquí para leer esta nota en español)

Pablo Faragó

Pablo Faragó

Born in Argentina, Pablo Faragó was to move to Uruguay in his late teens and form Níquel along with Jorge Nasser. The band made history in the country with its ability to mix styles and always retain a true River Plate sensibility, setting the scene for a younger generation of performers that sounded intrinsically autochthonous.

Níquel split as the 90s came to an end, but Pablo Faragó has continued making music to this day. I had the chance to talk with him about Mantras, his ongoing musical project – a project that is becoming 10 years old in 2011. What better time to ask him about his musical past, present and future?

We all remember you as one of the founding members of Níquel, a legendary band within Uruguayan music because it blazed a trail for a whole generation of younger performers to follow. Although you don’t make rock music any longer, you are still actively involved in the creation of music with your current project, Mantras. What can you tell us about it?

Mantras is a musical adventure that consists of electric guitar improvisations, using loop samplers that make for creating sonorous and rhythmical textures of different form and shape. The repertoire is always generated live, the music is created as I am playing. My music is nurtured by different trends and schools like minimalism, Afro-American rhythms and modern arts.

Which musicians are part of this project?

Mantras is basically a one-man show, but as the years went by I had the pleasure to be joined onstage by percussionist Fernando “Cacho” Rodríguez (who has played with Congo Bongo, Abuela Coca, Jorge Drexler and NTVG) and bassist José Ignacio Landoni.

Pablo Faragó, Cacho Rodríguez & Jose Ignacio Landoni.

Pablo Faragó, Cacho Rodríguez & Jose Ignacio Landoni.

What is the equipment that you use to create your Mantras?

Essentially, an electric guitar (which has changed over time – I currently use an Epiphone 335 Dot) and a lap steel. Their sound is processed using a pedal, and I have two machines for generating loops: a Boss RC-20 Loopstation, and a Line 6 DL6. A small console is used for mixing everything and sending the sound (in mono) to my amp, which is either a Valvular Peavey Deuce or a Crate 80 Solid. Continue reading

Pablo Faragó (Entrevista)

(Click here to read this post in English)

Pablo Faragó (el recordadísimo guitarrista de Níquel) ha continuado su aventura musical desde que la mítica banda se disolviera. Su proyecto actual (Mantras) pronto cumplirá 10 años de existencia.  ¿Qué mejor momento para conversar con Pablo sobre su música presente, pasada y futura?

Pablo Faragö

Pablo Faragö

Todos te recordamos siempre como uno de los miembros fundadores de Níquel, banda legendaria dentro del rock uruguayo pues abrió una senda que le permitiría llegar lejos a generaciones de músicos más jóvenes. Si bien ya no te dedicas a hacer rock, sigues estando muy involucrado en la creación de música con tu proyecto Mantras. ¿Podrías contarle a la gente en que consiste?

Mantras es una aventura musical cuya característica fundamental es la improvisación con guitarra eléctrica a través de generadores de ciclos de sonido (loop samplers), con los cuales se crean texturas sonoras y rítmicas de variadas formas e intensidades, el repertorio es siempre generado en el momento, la música se va creando a la vez que voy tocando. Mi música se nutre de diversas corrientes musicales y estéticas como el minimalismo, los ritmos afro-americanos y el arte moderno.

¿Qué músicos te acompañan en esta propuesta?

Mantras es básicamente una performance unipersonal pero con el correr de los años he tenido el gusto de ser acompañado por el percusionista Fernando “Cacho” Rodriguez (Congo Bongo, Abuela Coca, Jorge Drexler, NTVG) y el bajista José Ignacio Landoni.

Pablo Faragó, Cacho Rodríguez & Jose Ignacio Landoni.

Pablo Faragó, Cacho Rodríguez & Jose Ignacio Landoni.

Exactamente, ¿qué equipo empleas para crear tus mantras?

Básicamente guitarra eléctrica, que ha variado con los años, actualmente tengo una Epiphone 335 Dot y una lapsteel. Ambas van a una pedalera para procesar el sonido y dos máquinas para generar los “loops” una Boss RC-20 LoopStation y una DL6 de Line6. Todo termina en una pequeña consola donde mezclo y envío un sonido mono a mis amplificadores, que pueden ser un Peavey Deuce (valvular) o un Crate 80 (sólido). Continue reading

Superpunk! – Jorge Nasser Vs. Jorge Bonomi & Fernán Cisnero (Tiempos Salvajes)

This is a classic of Uruguayan radio. The incident took place one Saturday in March, 1993. Jorge Bonomi & Fernán Cisnero hosted a radio show named “Tiempos Salvajes” [Wild Times] in which they routinely abused one of the most popular rock bands of the day, Niquel. The band was fronted by Jorge Nasser and Pablo Faragó, and the hosts of the show looked askance at them because they regarded themselves as tough rock & rollers. They deemed Niquel’s approach as something sissy. They were making fun of the band live on air, and taking special umbrage at their recently-released symphonic album. Jorge Nasser (the singer and leader of the band) had enough. He headed straight to the studio, and by a bizarre twist of fate he got in without anybody noticing. He stood at the other side of the booth’s door, listening to the final segment of the show.

When the two hosts began picking on Niquel again, he exploded. Nasser stormed into the studio and gave the two radio hosts a beating to write home about. And it was all broadcast because the operator (fearing for her safety) ran away so quickly that she forgot to turn the mikes off.

“Stop it, man, stop it! Let’s talk it over!”. That was the only thing the radio hosts could repeat during the beating. When the first bout was over and Nasser stood towering over both of them, one of the hosts (completely scared out of his brains) squelched “Call the cops!”. Nasser’s retort has gone down in the history of Uruguayan radio.

“¡Ja! ¿Pero no sos el superpunk? ¿No sos el súperagresivo? ¿No es que te gusta la música con personalidad? Bueno, poné personalidad, jugate por lo que decís”.

[“¡Ha! Ain’t you a superpunk? Ain’t you a super-aggressive one? Don’t you always say you like music with personality? Come on, put a little personality to use, walk it the way you talk it”.]

Below you can download the audio in its entirety – you can listen to the first part of the show, the beating and then the mention the two hosts made to the incident the following Saturday.

People being people, I know you will want to listen to the beating first. Jump to 02:58. The “superpunk” bit comes at 04:24.

Superpunk – Jorge Nasser Vs. Jorge Bonomi & Fernán Cisnero (Tiempos Salvajes)