Vincent Vega – Uruguayan Independent Artist

Vincent Vega's Debut Album

The matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. Because the truth is inexplicable, puzzling, mystifying. Well, it must be for this fellow who keeps on emailing me, asking why there’s never any guest posts on MusicKO, why it’s always me and the belly of the beast running the show.

OK, look. I did try hiring some folks to write stuff for this blog. I asked those who were interested to submit some capsule reviews, to see what they could do. And someone named Elbo Ludo sent three in. Two were a cut and paste affair, straight from the All Music Guide. The third and final one, now, was a short piece on a Uruguayan artist I’d never heard of in my life. That artist was named Vincent Vega. And that’s what this gentleman came up with:

Vincent Vega (pronunciation:[bjœːɳ ɵlˈveːɵs]): Named after actor Vincent D’Onofrio and Vega (the Spanish cage fighter from the “Street Fighter” franchise) Vincent Vega is a Uruguayan duo that had a chance to rise to prominence when they were commissioned by director Rob Marshall to write a song for the film “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”. The resulting track (“Huevo Maraca”) could be heard as the end credits were rolling. But since the vast majority of the people in the theaters always left by then, the duo’s pyrotechnical contribution to the film went largely unheeded by audiences, unaware of the credibility of what they would have heard had they stayed around.

So much for having guests authors on MusicKO, then.

But the silver lining (because there’s always one) was that I became really curious on this duo that went by the name of Vincent Vega. Hey, I’m always up for anything that could send people tripping as much as to write a review like the one I just shared with you. And you know what? After having been to a couple of their gigs and getting to know the guys personally, I must say their compositions are not only tasteful but truly resonant.

At its core, Vincent Vega is a duo made up of Matías González and Mauricio Sepúlveda (Dr. Gonzo & Mr. Vega to friends and foes). They’ve been around since 2008, and in November 2009 they released an eponymous album, which you can download for free.

Vincent Vega (Mauricio Sepúlveda & Matías González) At A Recent Gig

Their influences include artists as celebrated as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Big Star and Wilco. And their main Uruguayan touchstone seems to be Eduardo Mateo, one of the seminal artists in the development of popular music in this country.

Their repertoire is basically acoustic, with Matías and Mauricio trading vocals all the way through. They do bring out an electric guitar every now and then, though (“De Piedra” [Of Stone] is a good example). And they do that even more frequently when they’re playing live.

And live, they’re also regularly joined by a bassist named Juan Chilindrón. He’s actually incredibly deft, having played with Uruguayan artists both old and new  like Monica Navarro and Orgánica. His contributions to Vincent Vega’s shows never go unnoticed by those in attendance.

I think there’s one word that defines Vincent Vega’s music: intimate. Their most endemic compositions (“El Piso Se Va A Manchar” [The Floor’s Gonna Get Splattered] and “Podríamos Haber Sido Amigos” [We Could Have Been Friends]) are earmarked by the same concern: finding a place which is small, and that’s got room for everything. There’s a discernible contrast between one’s own reality and the ever-widening world that lies outside. Songs like “Miro A Través De La Ventana” [I Look Across The Window] study the way in which a mere vision of that world can make a person turn more exigent with all that was previously fine. And on “Del Campo A La Ciudad” [From The Country To The City], the consequences of daring to venture out are examined. What love might be forthcoming from the whole excursion is just too quizzing and too hard to get your head and heart around.

Luckily, there are some quality videos of Vincent Vega around. I say “luckily” because otherwise I would have been forced to upload any of the shaky clips I’ve shot myself. The guys would have had bits of my anatomy removed had I done that.

On this clip (for “Huevo Maraca”) they’re augmented not only by Juan Chilindrón on bass but also by singer/songwriter Diego Rebella. It was shot at the Museum Torres García, in Montevideo’s Old City.

Vincent Vega’s eponymous debut can be downloaded for free here. Actually, if you want to listen to the album you must download it – there’s currently no way to get a physical copy. Some were printed, but they have already become relics, and the kind of items that post-apocalyptic civilizations end up starting cults around.

The guys have got a new single coming out next week. The song’s named “Tonite”, and it reminds me quite a bit of The Everly Brothers. Except that Don and Phil would never, ever have uttered an obscenity when signing. Oh no. Anyway, I find Vincent Vega’s cover of “Don’t Blame Me” as one of the undisputed high points of their live sets. I’m always eagerly anticipating it. And if they don’t play it, I sulk all the way back home. So, I can but listen to “Tonite” with crisp ears.

And one more thing, Vincent Vega is also premiering a video for “El Piso Se Va A Manchar” next week. I’ll make sure to update this post right there and then. In the meantime, this is the guys’ MySpace profile.