Wednesday, September 7, 2016

40 Year Itch : Books of Good Memory

Invisible : Los Libros de la Buena Memoria


In 1976, Argentine legend Luis Alberto Spinetta's prog rock band Invisible released El Jardin de los Presentes, an album I can't stop playing even though I know I still have a year's worth of records to hear. I'd come across Spinetta a few years ago when his former band Pescado Rabioso released Artaud, rated the greatest album to even come out of Argentinia by that country's Rolling Stone magazine. Spinetta has a voice not unlike Jeff Buckley's, full of beauty and emotion. His lyrics are those of a poet.

  In  the melancholy "Los Libros de la Buena Memoria" ( "Books of Good Memory"), Spinetta sings 

The wine warms dreams as it wheezes 
From its mouth of greened sweetness 
And among the books of good memory 
Stays hearing like a blind facing the sea

There is more than a trace of the tango in the music, heightened by the appearance of a bandoneon, a much more subtle cousin of the accordian. The guitar solo is played by a newcomer to the band, 18 -year old Tomás Gubitsch.

No great work of art happens in a vacuum. 

El Jardin de los Presentes was recorded the same year General Jorge Rafael Videla led a right-wing coup d'état that overthrew Isabel Perón as President of Argentina. For seven years a military dictatorship ruled the country, hunting down and killing  guerrillas, labor unionists, artists, intellectuals and university students. Their mothers silently protested in front of the government house, walking in circles and wearing white kerchiefs.  

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