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First Encounter of Rock
Decibel & Via Lactea
Monday October 8, 1979
University City Theatre, UNAM
An Alternative for Monday's, the cycle of rock, jazz, blues, urban song, electronic music, and other concerts of Cultural Diffusion of the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), presents this Monday October 8, 1979, the First Encounter Of Rock In Opposition, in Mexico at the Theatre of University City, with the participation of the bands Decibel, Via Lactea & Voldarepet.
In the Mexican artistic scene, private promoters usually create a rupture between music for the feet -danceable- and music for the head -non commercial-, favoring completely the former, considering it more productive, marginalizing all other groups and musicians that create music that travels the road of exploration and experimentation.
So proclaimed by Walter Schmidt, founder and leader of the electronic music band Decibel, who added that, this attitude has closed all work posibilities for bands that develop a non-commercial musical creation, forcing them to continue fighting just for the love of art.
While declaring that in underdeveloped countries like Mexico, listeners don't have the sufficient information to understand electronic ad experimental music, Schmidt assured that the majority of these bands on the genre have the firm purpose of bringing their music to popular crowds, to have open air concerts and in well attended places, getting closer to people that usually get scared off by electronic noises.
He reminded that Rock in Opposition was born mainly in Europe two years ago at the most. In that movement participate an infinity of bands of many European countries, like France, Belgium, Sweden, England and others. The common denominator of these bands is to make a totally new music, taking elements from contemporary classical, experimental music, and rock.
Their opposing attitude to all commercial form of modern music has made them suffer the total margination of cultural programming. To confront this hostility, the bands have united to mutually defend themselves creating a sort of cooperative to get concert contracts and ways of keep on fighting on the scene.
In Mexico, there are a good number of bands that live under the same situation: they don't have places to work at, finding support only of non lucrative institutions like UNAM and official cultural dependencies. Record labels are not interested on their work, the channels that inform their activities are minimal. Such factors affect the amount of information that the public recieves, creating an attitude of indifference towards Mexican Progressive Rock.
There is an important occuring for the bands Decibel, Via Lactea & Voldarepet. They will perform this Monday at the First Encounter Of Rock In Opposition, @ 1900 hours in the Theatre of University City (next to Architecture, close to the bus station).
There is a surviving recording the First Encounter Program closing Jam which features music by members of Via Lactea, Decibel & Voldarepet. With a little editing & sonic touch up the aproximately 10 minutes of music you'll hear offers a rare glimpse of Mexico's finest experimental musicians collaborating at the very beginning of a new era in Mexican Rock.
At the outset of the 1980's an embryonic experimental music scene was born in Mexico City. Original catalysts were Via Lactea, Chac Mool, Decibel, La Tribu & Luis Perez, to name a few.
In 1980, Carlos Alvarado (of Via Lactea & Chac Mool) came to Los Angeles for a visit opening the doors for Eurock to become the outlet for the music & information about the scene in Mexico, which continues up to today some 30+ years later. Throughout the 80's others from Mexico City visited LA and there were features in Eurock on Carlos, Jorge Reyes, Walter Schmidt & Luis Perez. There was coverage & reviews as well of other bands in the Mexican experimental & progressive scene like Hilozoizmo, Oxomaxoma, Voldarepet, Nazca, Flught, Arturo Meza & many others.
Today, more than three decades later, Mexico continues to have musicians and bands stretching the boundaries of rock, featuring many of the same musicians in fact. So an update now seems appropriate that contains information & artifacts. This Eurock Special Feature documents three of the first bands in Mexico to pioneer a fusion of avant-garde free music with native folk music elements and instruments. Oxomaxoma, Hilozoizmo & Voldarepet featured a core of shared musicians and collaborators who smashed the rock music mold, and revolutionizing the music scene in Mexico. I have digitized here Eurock archival documents and sound recordings, so you can literally see and hear what was in the air musically south of the border down Mexico way back in the early 1980s. I think you will find fascinating.
Since 1976, Oxomaxoma as a music group has persisted and experimented by any means necessary. For them any inanimate object can serves as a trombatron (a percussive instrument) which is equally as important in the act of making music, as is the guitar and voice.
For over 20 years, Arturo Romo & Jose Alvarez have created live music performances and released a series of albums now compiled into a box set. In 1990, they recorded In the Name of God, in 1992, The Shadow of a Corpse & 1994, A Corpse Comes Alive. The duo has also collaborated on recordings & in concert with various other musicians, and in other countries, for example The Al Exandre Waltzes Red Noise & Anthems.
In reality, Oxomaxoma is a band of outcasts, a group whose trajectory can only be viewed as part of a musical continuum. Each new sonic adventure is a new challenge, an obligatory step that marks a further development in their evolution. Oxomaxoma is not a progressive group, although there are many thematic elements that define it. Neither is it a Rock in Opposition group, due to their lack of academic rigor and free form structure of their music. In that sense, they exist outside any concept of Mexican Rock; their non-style is of no interest and has no potential for commercial broadcasting.
Their newest production, Without Mouth and With Black Eyes for the first time features outside musicians, Victor Mendez (guitarist of the band Vector Escolpo) and Armando Velasco who serve as producer and programmer. If their previous albums overflowed with dense anguished tone colors, this new album enters a new almost mellifluous musical realm, embroidered with beautiful textures and sounds that under their appearance of simplicity hide a myriad of sonic textures & compositional undercurrents.
The album features other notable collaborators as well - guitarists Jose Manuel Aguilera & Rolando Chia, along with Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma (keyboards) & Maria Elena Duran (voice). With the Oxomaxoma free form spirit still very much at its musical core, the addition of new musicians & their contributions makes Without Mouth and With Black Eyes, truly a musical revelation.
[Arturo N. Romo P. & Jose Alvarez B.]
A heartbeat intrigued
[Jose Alvarez B., Arturo Meza, Miguel Perez, Victor Rodriguez, Arturo N. Romo .]
The work of VOLDAREPET represents the result of the reciprocal relationship between man and matter. The conception that the artist (Man) creates for his self his own reality, is based on a conscious, or unconscious concept. Is it man and his intellectual activity, who creates science and art as a product of Human Praxis. This means that the concrete subject produces, and reproduces its own social reality, and its process is produced, and reproduced at the same time in itself.
(... Everything that belongs to human-social reality must demonstrate, one way or another, its Subjectve-Objective structure - KAREAL KOSIK). The work of art is a constituent part of social reality, an element of its structure and an expression of the social and spiritual productivity of man.
The music of VOLDAREPET contains electronic sequences morphologically administered to create sound continuity. The sonic image, a representation of the music of VOLDAREPET, arises from the conjugation of the auditive-amorphous-contemplative elements created by the group personnel. Such elements are independent or inter-dependent among them, in relation to the structure of each composition. Once this structure is established, the sound body will be able to develop itself, randomly, according to the proposed limitations of the structure.
In some fragments it occurs as improvisation (expression of the emotional impulse intra and inter-personal), creating combined variations that fall asymetrically into the body of the composition.
The music of VOLDAREPET has been called ELECTROSECUENTE: Electro for being a derivation and product of electronic monitors and Secuente, for being an infinite continuity that comes and goes in sound blocks and conglomerations, as well as conjugated silences with the result of different actions (elaborations and processes) and experiences (of state of mind and social development) of all human beings.
[Arturo Meza, Marco Antonia Godinez, Victor Soto, Juan Wolfgang Cruz]
[Arturo Meza, Alquimia e Oxomaxoma ~ Orla Vesanico Inmola Sonoris, UNAM ~ Oxomaxoma Muse de Antropologia e Historia]
Archival Audio Releases
The scanned graphics & translations of original texts used in this article are primarily taken from the Archives of Eurock & Arturo Diaz. I thought that in addition translations and the original scans in Spanish, that including as well some original recordings from that era released by the artists only as LTD ED cassettes in the early 1980s + a couple more recent unreleased recordings by people involved with the original groups would create a great multi-media flashback to those times. I obtained permission from the artists to use them & so below is listed a series of recording links that sonically offer a fascinating musical documentation of the experimental music scene down in Mexico City over the span of the decade 1980-1990. There truly was something happening musically back then down in Mexico as well as elsewhere around the globe. There was no internet only snail mail. One of the best things about the Net now is that sometimes it can be used to document small and obscure, but still important music, artists & cultural events from the past so they don't get forgotten. As the great Spanish philosopher, poet, & novelist Jorge Agustin Nicolas Ruiz de Santayana y Borrask, known as George Santayana once said, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Listen & Enjoy! Archie Patterson
Listen: Hilozoizmo ~ Listen: Oxomaxoma ~ Listen: Alvarez Romo
Listen: Naufragios y Demoliciones ~ Listen: Oxomaxoma Live1990 ~ Listen: Hilozoizmo Live1981
[Special Thanks for Materials & Translations - Carlos Alvarado, Arturo Romo, Alejandro Ceballos & Tony Coulter]
Used by Permission