Los Jaivas - s/t (El Volantin). 1971 Chile
CD reissue: 2001 Sony
LP reissue: 2005 Shadoks (Germany)
I can now see why Pinochet's dictatorship was scared of this group (which resulted in their ultimate expulsion). This is a long way from the measured progressive rock of Alturas de Machu Picchu that would arrive a decade later. El Volantin is what I would call freak rock, maybe along the lines of Denmark's Furekåben commune, or perhaps even the political wing of Amon Duul. Most of the material is tribal drumming, (de)tuned percussion, acoustic guitar strumming, piano, with male and female vocals chanted or screamed on top, and not the best recording either. There’s also some pan flute so you don’t forget that this is indeed a band of the Andes. The last track is really something great – with wild fuzz guitar and frantic vocals. The whole thing is a complete mess… had it come out today I wouldn't be impressed at all (fake counterculture doesn't work for me). But for the time and place (1971 Chile), this just reeks of the real subversive underground. You can just feel it. This is a serious work of civil protest. Awesome really.
Originals are extremely rare and come with a poster. According to one ebay auction: "The group released El Volantin privately. The music on this album was almost completely derived from improvisations, and can be considered as a performance of a "happening". It was pretty wild and free. From 20 hours of work only 40 minutes were used for publication. There were only 500 albums printed, and were sold at their gigs and in some "friend´s record stores"". My personal copy is the LP reissue on Shadoks (released in 2005; limited to 350 copies - mine is #125). Thick single sleeve with copy of original insert. Shadoks usually does things above board, but this one looks and sounds iffy to be honest. There's not a hint of band involvement, or any copyright info (probably taken from the 2001 Sony CD).