Monday, 5 August 2013

Chinaski - Resiliencia (album review)

Cover artwork by Fede.
Remember not too long ago, and the 'Chilean Fuzz' Comp?  Well I sure do, and I won't soon forget it neither!  And, anyway, remember how one of the absolute highlights of that 21 song platter was by a band called Chinaski?  Well it's true and here they have returned with their first album since late 2011's 'La Gran Mentira' and the song that kicked off 'Chilean Fuzz' in such a high fashion, "Raices".

The album kicks off with a brooding and atmospheric introduction leading into "Raices".  The band wants to 'tune' your brain to just the right frequency before dropping the hammer on it and smooshing it all around with their thick bottomed fuzz.  As like most, if not all, Chilean bands I've heard, Chinaski doesn't forget to emphasize melody, especially in the vocals, which, along with some energetic and engaging drumming, propels the songs forward and lends to it the momentum of a behemoth.

After slowing things down to a hulking lumber, the band display an easygoing penchant for picking things back up with "La Siembra" and the album's title track "Resiliencia", a snarling anthem of scope and dimension.  Peaks and valleys of rhythm trade off during the verse, then do so again within the overall structure of the song between the verse and chorus itself, creating a rollercoaster of changing tempos.  The effect works big time and leads the song right into the next track, "Manifesto".

"Entelequia" is Kyussian in its urgency and slowly churning, writhing rhythm.  And this gets right down to the heart of the matter with this band.  'Resiliencia' is a gallery of rhythms.  The album moves you, it's a visceral listening experience and Chinaski does nothing up to this point in the album to wrench you from the spell they cast over you.  Then penultimate track "Todo Tiende al Caos" comes along and it's as jarring as the title suggests ("Everything Tends Towards Chaos" for English speakers), as the album begins to crack, crumble and collapse into chaos.  This is by design however, and it focuses the listener's attention on the closing track "Vacio".

Chinaski are skilled enough craftsmen to reward this attention with a terrific experience.  "Vacio" is unlike anything else on the album, a picturesque vision of psychedelic calm as we are left hopelessly adrift in a void of chaos and it's only at this point that we experience the calm that comes from no longer fighting or resisting what is hurtling all around you.  That's the impression I get anyway.  It's just a laid back trip through outer space with debris flying everywhere and instead of fighting it or resisting, you just relax and let the current take you away to where it's going to take you.  A song like this is all the more effective considering it's the only one of its kind on the album.  This is always something to consider for creative people of all stripes.  Focus is one thing, but the ability to change things up and deliver a worthwhile twist ending is something else entirely.  A new level.  Chnaski shows great skill and a deft hand at not only bringing the listener's attention to focus with the preceding chaotic instrumental, but then absolutely deliver a stunning and unexpected conclusion to a solid, solid album.

I started to develop a theory after listening to this album for the first time, that perhaps the best albums, of any time, any genre, are those that really wallow in that regional sound from which they spring.  It certainly seems that way going backwards in music.  My favorite British psychedelic albums from the late 1960's are extremely 'British' in their offbeat poppy sound.  My favorite Ameircan psychedelic albums from that era, are extremely 'American' in their earthy framework and drugged out crazy structures.  The point is, Chinaski have hit upon a quintessentially Chilean fuzz sound and ought to be re-discovered and remembered for years to come along with many other of the masters from that country by succeeding generations who will be hip enough to realize that in the early teens, there was something tremendous being whipped up in the country of Chile.

Highlights include: "Raices" and "Vacio"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 52:17

From: Curicó, Chile

Genre: Doom, Psychedelic, Fuzz

Reminds me of: At Devil Dirt, Chilean Fuzz, DemonAuta

Release Date: June 21, 2013

Chinaski on Soundcloud
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