Venezuela 70: Cosmic Visions of a Latin American Earth
Soul Jazz Records’ new Venezuela 70 is the first-ever album of its kind to take a look at the groundbreaking experimental rock music made in Venezuela and created in the 1970s – during a time when the country was both a modern cultural and economic powerhouse in Latin America on account of wealth from its vast oil supplies.
Venezuela lies at the northern part of South America, with neighbouring Colombia to its west and Brazil to its south. The north coast borders the Caribbean.
Whilst much of 1960s Venezuelan rock music emulated British and USA styles, the 1970s saw the evolution of a new generation of creative artists such as Vytas Brenner, Angel Rada, Pablo Schneider and Miguel Angel Fuster, who all explored the possibilities of mixing together rock with elements of electronica, funk, jazz, latin rhythms simultaneously exploring their links with Venezuelan roots music, creating a new sound which blended a multitude of new and old world influences, uniquely Venezuelan.
These Venezuelan artists looked to the future while exploring their country’s own musical heritage to create a new cultural identity. Similarities can be drawn with then contemporary movements around the world such as the Trópicalia and post-Trópicalia 1970s scene in Brazil of Os Mutantes, Novos Baianos, Secos e Molhados (all of which feature on Soul Jazz Records’ earlier Brazil 70).
A similar parallel can be made in Europe with the experimental German groups of the 1970s (Can, Amon Duul, Harmonia, Neu all featured on Soul Jazz Records’ Deutsche Electronische Musik) who deconstructed and reconstructed the links between rock music and electronics to define a new German cultural identity.
Most of these artists featured on Venezuela 70 remain practically unknown outside of Venezuela’s borders and yet their progressive forward-thinking music is some of the most sophisticated in the world – a stunning ‘melting pot’ mix of underground rock, synthetic electronics, funk, jazz and Latin American rhythms all of which explored new sounds and broke down musical boundaries to create a distinct and unique Venezuelan music and cultural identity.
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