Yo soy robot – zum-catacroc-cric-crac!

If you’ve been patiently going along with the rambling, oft-changing direction of this Blog, you might have noticed that increasingly often, I meander off into Latin zones: some chicha here, a bit of Cumbia there; and occasionally the odd strange trip into questionable, sixties ye-ye. Well, cue the dry ice and special FX, I can feel another one coming on…

Vainica Doble

Sad to hear that a couple of days ago, Gloria van Aerssen, the one surviving half of barmy Spanish seventies duo Vainica Doble, has died this week.

I’m not going to claim I know a whole lot about them, or that I’d been a devoted fan for very long, but a while back I got hold of a copy of their 1972 record Heliotropo which is just great.R-2118729-1322125874.jpeg

To be honest, the pair don’t sound a whole lot different from your standard seventies balladeers, except they’re singing in Spanish (fairly unusual for the time). That and the fact that someone, somewhere in the set up chose to dress up their early records with all sorts of self-consciously groovy and frankly batty electronic effects which make their early records a whole lot of moog-infused fun to listen to.

Actually, just to show how different they must have been at the time, watch a bit of this nonsense by daft, sixties-cash-in band, Los Hippy Loyas (sixty seconds ought to do it…)

and then give this a go: “La Máquina Infernal” from Heliotropo:

Hardly Throbbing Gristle, I know, but an intriguing, charming listen, no? A clumsy stumble through the lyrics takes you further into the sugary strange world of Heliotropo, revealing a nightmarish automaton with eight glass eyes, iron hands, and a metal heart, who roams the countryside, devouring people’s money (and who knows what else) to the grisly refrain:  triqui-tri-trac and zum-catacroc-cric-crac.

And if that’s not weird…

I’d imagine there’s some sort of of-the-time social metaphor going on here, but I fear it may be lost for all time, now. Ah well… (And in any case, sometimes the literal is way more interesting.)

I think they became really, really famous in Seventies and Eighties Spain but predictably their records became less and less fun as they got more and more successful, and probably their first two records are the only ones we’re interested in. Here’s an actual video of Las Vainica in all their bonkers post-psicodélico glory: “Caramelo de Limón” (No, not a clue what’s going on here…)


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