Totem - III: Corrupcion. 1973 Uruguay
CD reissue: 1998 Posdata
The 3rd album from Totem is quite a sophisticated album for the time and place. Uruguay in 1973, like other Southern Cone countries, were in the midst of creative-crushing dictatorships. Interesting then, that the sound of Totem mirrors that of Flamengo in Czechoslovakia. These are bands that seemingly inherited traits of obscure UK bands such as Tonton Macoute and Raw Material, and infused those with indigenous elements, to make for an historically superb album. Of course, it's highly unlikely that Totem would even be aware of obscure albums on the Neon and Transatlantic labels, but rather they drew a similar musical conclusion, based on psychedelic, jazz, and hard rock to create their own recipe of progressive rock. Totem mixes long form jazz with funky rhythms, song based romantic ballads, complex sax and flute driven prog, and Latin Rock with biting psychedelic fuzz guitar, for a truly compelling mix. At times the solos linger, and the subsequent songcraft isn't deep enough to hold the weight, but the overall output is strong. And the best track is saved for last: the moody and lengthy 'Caspita'. I'd place Totem comfortably in the collection near fellow countrymen Psiglo, Som Imaginario (Brazil), and Los Baroccos (Argentina). Don't miss this one.
An obscure album on both LP and CD, my copy is the Posdata CD from 1998, which I bought not too long after initial release. This was part of their 30 year Uruguay Music anniversary series. Also features two bonus tracks, one 'Mi Pueblo' taken from a 1972, and the other 'Orejas', performed by Mario "Chicito" Cabral, originally released on the album La Tocata.