For every so-so recording, there is an absolutely spectacular one, all in all making this a worthwhile -- if not absolutely essential -- journey into the Chilean underground.
The fact that this record exists at all is nothing short of amazing. In 1973, Augusto Pinochet took control of Chile in a violent, CIA-assisted coup, and his resulting reign essentially abolished civil rights for the Chilean people for nearly two decades. One aspect of Pinochet’s reign was the destruction of a large amount of music, and most Chilean recordings made after 1973 have most certainly been destroyed in one way or another. Love, Peace & Poetry: Chilean Psychedelic Music covers songs released between 1964-73, and it’s an absolutely fascinating look at this tumultuous time in the country’s history, featuring songs that range from the political (Los Mac’s “La Muerte de mi Hermano” -- detailing the death of one’s brother at war -- is rife with machine gun sound effects) to the downright sexy (the largely instrumental “Erotica” by Aguaturbia features a dry groove over which a woman breaths out orgasmic moans right up to the ending). At 17 tracks, however, the album does feel a bit bloated, as some tracks (particularly near the end) feel too imitative of what was happening with American psychedelic music at the time. Yet for every so-so recording, there is an absolutely spectacular one (the fantastic, joyous “Foto de Primera Comunion” by Los Jaivas), all in all making this a worthwhile -- if not absolutely essential -- journey into the Chilean underground.