Monday 10 February 2014

Vinicio Adames - Al Comienzo Del Camino -1985- (LP, Private Pressing), Venezuela

If you thought that Venezuela is an odd socialist country where the immortal Hugo Chavez rules the place and where they have a toilet paper scarcity then think again: that’s just one side of the story. Venezuela has historically always been a very diverse country with numerous influences, ideologies, wealth vs. poverty dynamism and identities. It’s a country that artistically was always able to produce its own unique music and art. Its current image of danger and totalitarian socialist spectacle really doesn’t show the deeper refined cultural dimensions that the country has to offer. The artefact we’ve got here is a precise example of the musical diversity the country has to offer. Yes, there is great Latin jazz, salsa music or cumbia, but also minimal synth, electronic improvisation, rock and other genres. Venezuela basically has everything to offer, but the last two or three decades made artistic (not colonial) history disappear under a layer of indifference and political tactics trying to take artistic expression hostage. Luckily, art always finds a way to blur the boarders (unless it was meant to consolidate the state’s power of course) and people are slowly uncovering their forgotten musical past out of necessity and pride.

The album presented here is, to my knowledge, the only absolute example of a synth/wave album from Venezuela. Just when you thought everything (at least vinyl) in that genre has been uncovered by the hype, some things were just too difficult to track down. The only other album which could be qualified minimal synth/wave from Venezuela from the past is “Gran Sabana” by Miguel A. Noya, who also plays a role on this particular album. Because that album has more improvisational pieces too, this is the only one from Venezuela I’d say. The amazing electronic music of Venezuelan musician Angel Rada exceeds basically everything what we are talking about now and has a different kind of quality to it. I’d highly recommend you to check it out. All these people came from the same movement of Venezuelan electronic music though and even performed alongside each other. During the eighties there was an annual electronic music festival in Caracas at the cultural institute Casa Romulo Gallegos where these artists would perform. The Casa Romulo Gallegos still exists today.

Al Comienzo Del Camino
by Vinicio Adames was self-released in 1985 in very limited quantities. To my knowledge only a handful of copies are in the hands of collectors. Vinicio Adames released many more albums. From his website: 
A skilled composer and producer of contemporary, orchestral and electronic music for Film, Art, Dance and TV. One of the most influential exponents of the electronic music movement in South America for more than 20 years. Adames has produced and executed his own concerts in which he combines music, video, design, digital imaging and cinematographic illusions all created by himself. He has been rewarded with numerous awards in the field of music for short and feature films in Venezuela and for the music composed for the advertisement industry. He has produced more than 30 short and featured film projects and around 100 TV programs and documentaries. Music producer for more than 300 advertisement pieces for corporate clients such as: American Express, MasterCard, Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola, GM, Ford, Movilnet, Banco de Venezuela, among others.In the art field his music has been exhibited in museums and galleries for installations, expositions and video-art.

Al Comienzo Del Camino
was Vinicio Adames’ first album.
It shows the primitivism of synth wave, but also clearly shows melody and composition. Most of the songs are really composed pieces and have vocals in Spanish. For some people this might be a turn off, because it has a soft kind of new wave side to it. Nevertheless, I think that it’s a great record with quite some diversity and the uniqueness of this type of music from Venezuela makes it worth it anyway. The opening track “Al Comienzo Del Camino” and the tracks  “Escape” and “Grem” are clearly songs I could imagine in any minimal wave set. The electronic music scene of Venezuela really deserves proper reissues and shouldn’t be overlooked. Hopefully this post will contribute.
Get it HERE

Por que, la vida no es una línea infinita
Sino más bien una elipse muy grande
en la cual pasaremos mucho tiempo
tratando de llegar a lo más avanzado
para luego allá
darnos cuenta que
estaremos de nuevo

 Al comienzo del camino



  1. ...saw it over in your sidebar's i thought i should help you in doing your homework in digging minimal synth alike records from countries where toilet scarcity is important, since they are so important for western-minded guys like you with a sense of superiority...

    just for the record, Jean Hoyoux also had another lp...called III Hymne...

    1. OUCH! Wow, thanks for the homework. Yeah, Belgium is a country less inflicted with these troubly matters. Don't worry, I respect Venezuela very much, I only try to open up the people's mind since meanstream media tends to suck us into a lot of prejudice and ignorence. Me being from the west is just a plain fact. Nothing more. I shouldn't adress problems elsewhere, though through own observations I know the western opinions on these things are quite foolish. Venezuela is in my heart more than many countries I had ties with in my life. I have been there and lived the Venezuelan reality. I opened up many Venezuelans to this music too with great humbleness. I tend to approach conflicts lightly because we won't move forward as a whole once we adress politics too pricisely, I want people to see the flipside of conflict. It's time to merge as a whole not to isolate. Just hope that all of this music gets its deserved attention, no matter where it's from. Saving this stuff is important for the idea many superior western people have.

      Hope you still enjoy this without any ties to superiority.



  2. As someone from Venezuela who had no idea that "home" had electronic music legacy stretching this far back (as opposed to the relatively recent but vibrant scene with bands like Masseratti 2lts and KP9000), I am grateful for the wonderful sounds from this blog. There are many "white man superiority complex" blogs, but this one is not it. I have found this blog to be very respectful, like Voodoo Funk is for Guinea and Nigeria, and Sahelsounds for Mauritania and Niger.

    That said, you mention Miguel A. Noya in your description, but the back of the record clearly states that he is not only the sound engineer and mixer for this record, but also contributes on one of the tracks!

    Interestingly enough, by Angel Rada's own admission, Noya was inspired by Rada's music being played on the radio at midnight; Noya called in to the radio to talk about how surprised he was that he was not the only "loco" in town doing this sort of thing. Presumably this influence eventually led to this record. Interesting how sometimes music can be traced back to one person.

  3. Hi!! Awesome blog! Thanks for all this great stuff.
    Could you please re-up this link?
    Thanks! Cheers from São Paulo

  4. In the 80 there was a very interesting movement of electronic musicians who were working . Once I was preparing artworks for an exhibition (it was late night ). I was listening I do not remember what program (maybe the same Noya was listening to?) And there was music from Angel Rada. I contacted him through Gustavo E. Pazos I think, who was working at "Don Disco". I already had been working for some time with a Polymoog & other keyboard-synth (I lost it years ago.... ) Many years before, Alfredo Del Mónaco, one of the first musicians to work in Venezuela with electroacustic experiments, was visiting my family home, because he was studying with my sister... Venezuela has many talented musicians. Everyone with own style. Vinicio Adames, Miguel Noya, Angel Rada, Jacky Schereiber, the group Musikautomática, and others. Angel Rada offered to give a concert for my exhibition at the "Alianza Francesa", in 1985.

    "..Todos los horizontes son uno sólo, todas las distancias se encuentran en un punto........Espíritu que abraza a todas las distancias. El mismo espacio. El mismo horizonte. El mismo significado incomprendido...Aquí, en este punto inexistente." (fragment of Todos los Horizontes son uno sólo - from poems to be published someday: Travesía del Retorno )
    O. Linde K.