One of the things that I’m always interested in is the biography of the music I listen to. By this I do not mean the influence on the band or its members, but what has happened to the music once it has been recorded. This debut album is a case in point. It was recorded back in 2014 and, probably as far as many of us outside the band’s own country, Chile, are concerned it has been like a tree falling in an empty forest. That is until now because, thanks to Germany’s Adansonia Records, the album is getting a greater exposure and deservedly so…we can now witness it for ourselves.
One of my constant themes on this website is to praise the many small labels around the world that do us a great service in bringing otherwise unheard music to us and, not only that but also that package it up in a way that makes it both accessible and desirable…and all on usually on a shoestring budget.
Another theme is how this ‘psych’ (or whatever you want to call it) scene is so global and inclusive. Vago Sagrado are one of a number of bands who hail from Chile, bands who all very much have their own individual sounds: Föllakzoid, Holydrug Couple, La Hell Gang, Chicos De Nazca, Vuelveteloca and many others; especially those on the wonderful BYM Records. This also goes for Vago Sagrado who sound very different to their contemporaries from the outset.
‘La Alfombra Debajo del Océano’ begins with a really acoustic riff before heading off into wah wah territory, interspersed with a lovely lilting bassline. I first heard this whilst out on a walk on the first truly Spring day of the year and the feel good factor of this music really enhanced my mood. Then, as the tempo picked up into a wonderful spacey high energy piece, I found myself really upping my pace as the music added a whole new layer of positivity to my wellbeing. Terrific opener!
Next up is ‘Take Back The North’, which is a more blues-based track with a spoken word narrative over the top. I found to it be really atmospheric in a melancholic sort of way before it breaks out into a cacophony of sound around halfway, before settling down again. So far so good, two tracks in and I’m already getting the impression that this will be a debut album full of ideas and variation.
This is upheld with the next track ‘Hermanos’. This has a lovely psychedelic feel to it with a dreamy guitar and soft vocals drawing the listener into its soporific tones before, once again but in a different way, breaking out into a full-blown wall of sound. The band repeat this cycle several times during the track’s seven minutes dramatically building the sound up on each occasion. This is a really great track which I think lots of readers will really go for with its mixing of all of the above into a concise stoner-rock structure.
‘Sacred Bum’, crazy name…crazy track. Not a novelty item but a difficult one to describe without going into the many bands that parts of this track remind me of. Like the rest of the album there really is a lot going on here, and that elicits different emotions as the number progresses. There is, once again, some blues in here, but there are also elements of space, psych and stoner rock…all underneath a spoken word soundtrack which darkens the mood. ‘Circe’ is perhaps similar in overall feel, although perhaps a little less ‘out there’.
Following that sultry dual interlude the band pick things up again with a palate cleansing high tempo instrumental, ‘Reprise’, which sets the listener up nicely for the final track ‘Mojo’ which immediately feels darker than its predecessor. With its deep basslines and a constantly changing cycle of guitar work, similar to the opening track in this respect, ‘Mojo’ keeps the listener both interested and expectant, a great way to end the album.
In my opinion we owe Adansonia Records a debt of gratitude in bringing this album to our attention. Sounds that have lain dormant to many of us can now come alive. However, it is Vago Sagrado that we should thank the most for producing an album that is in and of itself different, yet also eclectic. It is an album that I hope will continue to be heard as widely as possible as I think that many of you will really dig it.
‘Vago Sagrado’ is available from Adansonia Records in the following vinyl editions:
– 200 x black vinyl, 180g, hand-numbered
– 200 x red/black marbled vinyl, 180g, hand-numbered incl. two postcards
– 100 x clear/red vinyl , hand-numbered label edition incl. two postcards
And can be downloaded from the band’s Bandcamp page here.