Los Amores Imaginarios, Vol. 1 – Federico (Uruguayan Independent Artist)

by Emilio Pérez Miguel on November 28, 2012

A middle-aged couple hired a young girl to look after their kids while they attended a party. The girl arrived early in the evening, and she stayed with the children as the couple went their way.
And everything was going fine, until the husband’s mobile rang. It was the girl, she wanted to know if she could cover the clown’s statue in the kid’s room because the children were scared by it, and they couldn’t get to sleep. The man said we don’t have a statue of a clown in our house, quick get the kids out and call the police.
It turned out the clown was a convict who had broken into the house.

And if you don’t copy and paste this text in the wall of five of your Facebook friends, tonight at 3 AM the clown will be at your bed, with a chainsaw in his hands.

 

 

OK, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. That was too good a chance to miss. I’m sorry. I won’t ever do that again, I swear by God almighty and by my High School Musical DVD.

Today, it’s time to cover a new Uruguayan artist on this blog. And I’ve found one that has got quite an interesting background. His name is Federico, and in addition to being a recording artist of his own he runs an independent label named Nikikinki Records. This label gathers together a distinctive number of Uruguayan performers, but some international acts have been joining its ranks recently.
So, if you visit Nikikinki’s website you’ll be able to download music from local performers such as Ari Vinitzki, Lila Tirando a Violeta, Fabián Echandía and Turra Total, along with Eric Bejaranbo (from Mexico) and Johnny Slidell (from the US) to name just a few.
In all cases, the music you can find on the site is available at zero cost. You just have to submit your e-mail address, and that’ll be the start of a thousand lives with the music of this league of extraordinary gentlemen.

Federico himself has released two volumes of love songs named “Los Amores Imaginarios” [Imaginary Loves], and he also fronts a band which goes by the name of “Julen y la Gente Sola” [Julen and the Lonely People]. I became familiarized with his work while I was online one day, goofing around on Facebook. I came across a live performance of his, he had posted a song named “Asuntos Ajenos” [Other People’s Businesses], and I gave it a whirl. Usually, I click on such videos and then keep on scrolling down my news feed. And that’s precisely what I did when I first crossed paths with “Asuntos Ajenos”.
But I didn’t get very far. A couple of seconds into the performance, I stopped scrolling down. I was listening.
And when Federico started singing, I had to scroll up again to see him play. There was a sort of magnetism both in his voice and his overall demeanor. You couldn’t call it technical prowess, you couldn’t call it interpretative proficiency or smoothness. But it was some sort of coruscating quality all the same.

And you know, that’s good news. Really good news. That’s what I always want to see on young performers.

Frankly, I was amazed. I mean, not amazed in the same way Taylor Swift is amazed at awards shows, and she puts her patented OMG face on, like this:


(If you look carefully, you’ll also notice that when this happens Taylor Lautner is always, always on the very first row. He’s staring all dove-eyed at T Swizzle, until he realizes the cameras are on him! And when that happens, he turns his head with haste, as if thinking “Oops, I’m not supposed to harbor feelings for her any longer!”
I hate you! Vile monster! How could you break our sweetheart of the rodeo’s heart?! Hope they cast you in a suckass saga with endless sequels! Hope you’re condemned to do the same mediocre role for ever!
Oh, wait…)

But I was surprised by how much Federico could elicit, by how much he could transmit in a way that seemed so effortless. And I decided to take a closer look at his work.

So, I downloaded the first volume of his “Amores Imaginarios”. And that’s the album I want to tell you about today.

According to the liner notes, Federico recorded the 12 songs that are included between 2009-2011 on his bedroom, using an acoustic guitar and his computer. This is a lo-fi album by definition, so that if you’re enamored with Okkervil River’s marauding guitars on songs such as “We Need A Myth” then I’m afraid you’ll have to browse. This album is not about sounding good, it’s about conveying ideas in a way that’s unembellished and completely spontaneous.
We could debate incessantly how valuable such a thing is from an artistic point of view; writers like Victor Hugo used to claim that there’s nothing more detrimental to art than the rush of inspiration, that ideas have to be diligently refined, and that the greatest works come from a process in which corrections and reformulations are always in order. Conversely, authors like Byron (who were uttermost expressionists) felt that saying what one had to say in the way that it would naturally come out was the fairest thing to do.

How much you’ll get from an album like this one (and from most of Nikikinki’s oeuvre, actually) depends on where you stand on this debate. If you collapsed to the floor and cried aloud “Deflower me! Deflower me, Dave!!” when the Foo Fighters won their last Grammy Award and Grohl mentioned that they had recorded the album at their very own garage, then look no further than this.

But regardless of your actual stance, you can’t say that Federico is holding anything back when he sings. There’s a lot of sense, and there’s also a lot of sensibility. Now that I think of it, that’s probably what caught my ear the first time around. The melodies and the lyrics are very homogeneous for someone his age, they can’t be criticized in terms of efficacy. Most compositions deal with heartache and shyness, with the fear of rejection that’s the truest staple of teenage life. As it’s fit, the imagery is split around high schools, libraries, bus stops and bedrooms, the essential scenery for most of our stories when we are leaving our teenage years, and we’re breaking out of the cocoon that society has created around us. Federico explained on a recent interview that he’s perfectly capable of writing 40 songs for someone he doesn’t even know that well, and he quickly pointed out such a thing is nowhere as nonsensical as it might seem. At the end of the day, he’ll have 40 songs composed to share with his public.

The sweetest cuts are “Para Camila, con Cariño y Timidez” [For Camila, with Lovingkindness and Shyness] and the set opener, “Será Porque Te Quiero” [It’s Probably Because I Love You]. The most ill-humored tracks include “Gigante” [Gigantic] and “Que Vas a Saber (Lo Que el Amor Es)” [How Could You Know (What Love Is)]. And my personal favorite is the snappy “Peluches y Pijamas” [Teds and Pajamas], along with the innocently desperate “Valentina”.

There’s the odd formal misstep here and there, but you can’t blame an 18-year-old for abusing devices like grammar inversions and rhyming verbs with verbs. Someone who’s so focused on his art will eventually realize as much himself, and do something about it before too long.
Federico is a cool dude, I like him a lot. I do.
Almost as much as Nyan Cat, in fact.

I mean, there’s not another being which is as ethereal as Nyan Cat, and we’re all glumly aware of that. Nyan Cat can fly through outer space! He can fart rainbows! He can repeat the same melody for 10 hours non-stop! Hence, he’s got an innate aptitude to annoy the shit out of people. He’s matchless.

My theory? First, God created Chuck Norris, to see how badass he could get. And then, he came up with Nyan Cat, the creature to end all creatures. A shadowcaster, and a lightmonger. All these things that know no limits, and all these things that are bound together by the shackles of solitude rolled into one! There’s no question about that in my mind.

Well, I can honestly say that (as of the time of writing this) Federico is the one being that I’m more expectant to meet in person one day! Right after Nyan Cat! No small feat.

In the meantime, I think I’ll download the second volume of his “Amores Imaginarios”. And a third collection of songs is on the horizon, too. Fantastic! Buckethead would be proud, that’s almost as many albums as he puts out himself on any given year. And Buckethead is a role model and a standard bearer if I ever saw one – any person who tells Ozzy Osbourne to go fuck himself and doesn’t get his head bitten off instantly knows a thing or two about life.

As you probably remember, last month I became a fully-fledged member of the Brill Building Society. I am their correspondent for Uruguayan music, I am. And as such, I am expected to submit in-depth coverage of our mushrooming talent.
By the way, they’re not paying me with money. No, what they’re doing is to send me shares. I’ve got shares on the company! And they send them to me via fax! I’m keeping them on a box with a big padlock underneath my bed.
And just the other day, a “friend” told me, “Emilio, you do know that after a while what’s printed on fax begins to fade, don’t you??”.
Ha!! What a nice “friend” you are!! What kind of backwards fool do you think I am? Do you really think I’d fall for something like that! I wasn’t born yesterday! You want me to throw away my shares, so that you can go through my garbage and get them afterwards! Ha! I know people like you, I do. I‘m just like Bob Dylan! I’ve been everywhere…

 

Formerly, MusicKO posts included links at the end for you to visit all the pages connected with the artists under review. But that’s old hat, I no longer do such a thing. What you’re getting now are pictures! Lots of pictures for you to bang away! So, click on Harry to visit Nikikinki Records’ website, click on Zayn to be taken to Los Amores Imaginarios’ page on Facebook, and click on Niall to go to the fanpage for Julen y La Gente Sola!

But don’t click on Louis and Liam! They do nothing! Yes! NOTHING! THEY DO NOTHING! LIKE IN REAL LIFE!

ALL YOUR 1D HATERS! LEAVE HARRY, NIALL AND ZAYN ALONE! BLAME LIAM AND LOUIS FOR THE BAND’S LACK OF PANACHE! BUT DON’T TOUCH THE REST! BLAME THESE TWO AMOEBI!! THESE TWO COAT HANGERS!!! THESE TWO WINDOWS DRESSINGS!!!! LEAVE HARRY, NIALL AND ZAYN ALONE!!!!!!!!!

OMG!!

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s Nyan Cat!!! Again!! And it’s the DELUXE version!

You know, the one in which he farts crisper rainbows! And he makes funkier music! And he bobs his head with even more finesse! OMG!!! OMG!!!!! It’s too much!! Wait!! Don’t go!! Nyan Cat…! Wait!… Don’t… don’t… don’t go!!! FUCK ME!!! FUCK ME, I’M FAMOUS!!!  Come back, Nyan Cat! FUCK ME!!! I’M FAMOUS!!! NYaAaaAAAnnn CaAaAaaaaaat………

 

SPECIAL NOTE BY THE BRILL BUILDING SOCIETY: We just wanted to let you know that Emilio’s fine, we’ve taken him to the padded room we keep at the top of the building for him. He’ll be back in a couple of weeks, writing yet more inspiring content for you to read.
In the meantime, you can send him as many “Get well soon!” cards as you desire.
But we hope you understand that cards featuring Nyan Cat will be withheld.

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