Ave Rock - s/t. 1974 Argentina
CD reissues: 1997 PRW (Brazil); 2013 Fonocal
Release details: Originals are housed in a gatefold and are very scarce to find. As with many Argentine records, the only likely place to find one is in the country itself. Thus making a purchase of one an expensive and risky endeavor unless you are certain it's a reputable dealer that you can trust. Unfortunately very few albums from Argentina were imported to the US and Europe during the 70s. So this isn't something that will turn up by accident in a healthy day of crate digging. Most vinyl from Argentina are of a poor quality to begin with, and you're lucky to find anything better than a VG+ 40 years later. I bought the first CD when it arrived in '97. PRW was one of the three great Brazilian progressive rock specialist labels of the 90s (the other two being Record Runner and Rock Symphony). Best I can tell, the label didn't make it out of the decade. The CD itself is of a good quality, typical of the PRW label, with photos, lyrics, and a nice layout. However the sound is not good at all. It's taken from a noisy LP - and if I had to guess - it probably was a mint copy too. I've never owned the original but I have to suspect, based on personal experience, that it doesn't sound very good. And this tells us the masters are probably long lost. I was expecting this CD to be very rare nowadays, but while researching this entry, found out that Fonocal has reissued it again. Maybe it sounds better? As for LP reissues, I did own one on the Marcoumar label for many years. The packaging was very well done, but of course the sound was no better (sourced from the CD I'm sure). And then I found out it was a pirate edition and ditched it to auction a few years ago. So it remains without a legit LP reissue at this time.
Notes: Understanding the poor sound quality plays a major role in one's appreciation of Ave Rock's debut. My opinion has flip-flopped over the years, and I'm now of the mindset that this is a very fine progressive rock album. As with many records from Argentina, the style of music recalls the 1970s Italian scene, which makes sense given their ancestry. Imagine heavy organ rock like Uriah Heep and Deep Purple that is suddenly tipped on its head with all sorts of crazy rhythms, counterpoint, melodic dissonance, and general madness. Bands like Triade, Alphataurus, and L'Uovo di Colombo all come to mind here. And with the good comes the bad, which includes the whiny singer-songwriter bits and the straight up rock and roll segments. But that's the music of the early 70s Italian era - and the music here on Ave Rock's debut. I highly recommend you listen to this with headphones, and focus intently through the grime of the original recording. Casual listening will leave a negative impression.