El Templo del Dinero - s/t. 1999 Mexico

As I've written about in the past, Smogless was a Mexican label in the late 90s something akin to the Kosmische Kouriers or Prescription Drug (UK), with a blend of bands celebrating the psychedelic underground. El Templo del Dinero was but one of these ensembles, likely collected for this recording rather than as a touring concern. The participants are an unusual lot for a recording such as this. Guitarist Victor Mendez had played in a couple of oddball bands from the early 90s - one was the unhinged Zeuhl group Vector Escoplo and the other was the arty Subsuelo. Neither very good to be honest. Drummer Victor Baldovinos comes from the decidedly symphonic group Iconoclasta. Newcomer bassist Alfredo Landa fills out the trio.

Based on this lineup, one wouldn't normally expect an homage to early Guru Guru and Sensations Fix, but more or less that's what we're dealing with here. Instrumental psychedelic space rock is the order of the day. The sound is raw and very much a product of the deep underground. El Templo del Dinero was hardly alone doing this kind of music in Mexico at this time, and one will hear similarities to Humus, Loch Ness, and Frolic Froth. The guitars are wonderfully compressed and super fuzzed out, and the rhythm section moves around constantly. Sometimes in sync, sometimes not - which is part of the allure. But it's definitely a competent work by experienced musicians. I've seen references to this being a jazz fusion type album, but I cannot hear it myself. No more than Guru Guru's UFO being considered such. Another reference would be the obscure Chicago based band Matter.

El Templo del Dinero is another one of those CDs I bought real time, enjoyed, and filed. Here we are 19 years later on a revisit, and I had very little music memory of it - only that it was in the Humus vein. I can understand this album being a bit too raw for some, but it's not in the wear-you-out genre like the Japanese groups such as Acid Mothers Temple can be. I enjoyed it myself, and hopefully will hear it again sooner than 19 years. Hopefully I can still hear at all by then....

Personal collection
CD: 1999 Smogless

Larry Coryell - At the Village Gate. 1971 USA

At the Village Gate is a very interesting album from jazz guitarist Coryell. I've heard quite a few of his albums prior including the Eleventh House works, and they follow similar fusion / jazz rock paths as laid out by John McLaughlin/Mahavishnu Orchestra, Wolfgang Dauner's Et Cetera, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. In effect, musicians born out of jazz but with a strong interest in rock music. So even though I had read this album to be different, I wasn't expecting it to really be that way. And I was to be proven wrong.

At the Village Gate truly is an instrumental psychedelic rock album. This is very much in the realm of Jimi Hendrix and Cream. Perhaps not as intense as the burgeoning Krautrock movement of early Ash Ra Tempel and Guru Guru, but take away some of their more excessive moments, and you arrive At the Village Gate. The guitar tone is decidedly psychedelic with plenty of effects applied, while the rhythm section is constantly on the move. "Busy" as the liner notes suggest. For the style, it's a bit subdued, but for an experienced jazzer like Coryell, it's definitely risky and on the edge. For my tastes at least, it's the best album I've heard by him.

At the Village Gate is a relatively obscure album for a marquee name such as Larry Coryell, who sadly passed away recently. Real Gone has provided the first legitimate reissue on CD in 2017. Don't miss it this go round if what I say above resonates.

Personal collection
CD: 2017 Real Gone

CD comes with unique liner notes and great sound.

Cast - Nimbus. 2004 Mexico

Nimbus is the 12th studio album from Mexico's Cast, and was released by Mylodon in Chile and Musea in France. At their beginning, Cast...