Monday, February 22, 2010

PETTINATO & THE PESSI-MYSTICS

In November of 2000 seven musicians who had never performed together walked into a studio in Buenos Aires to conduct an experiment. The engineer set the tape rolling and the band began to play. There was no rehearsal, no charts, no previously agreed on strategy. This project was the brainchild of Roberto Pettinato; author, social commentator, TV personality and one-time member of Sumo, the most influential rock band ever to come out of South America.

During the initial session and another the following week the players came up with ten solid tracks; all of them improvised and mostly without overdubs or mixing. The result is El Yo Saturado (I Am Saturated) by Pettinato and The Pessi-Mystics. The music is unapologetic, chaotic, beautiful anti-pop. It combines spaced-out psychedelic dirge and a free-for-all atmosphere unbounded by pop conventions. But El Yo Saturado is more than noise or intellectual meandering. It’s a solid slice of the beauty of process that satisfies as any polished product.

It was the vision of Roberto Pettinato that brought these performers together. Pettinato was already a well-know figure in the Argentinean underground, avant garde and alternative rock scene at the time of this recording. Pettinato had made his name as a journalist in the late 1970’s. He was also known as the on-again-off again saxophonist for Argentina’s most well-known alternative band Sumo.

Luca Podran the founder of Sumo was an Italian who had gravitated to London and Manchester England during the rise of post-punk. He had hang out and become friends with the likes of Ian Curtis of Joy Division, Mark E. Smith of The Fall, members of Gang of Four and A Certain Ratio. It was with this musical and cultural background that Padron found himself in Argentina to kick a heroin habit. Sumo’s mark on Argentine rock is as undeniable as it is indelible. Roberto Pettinato who was an asiring member of Argentina’s underground music scene became riends of Podran, and in 1984 Podran invited Pettinato to become part of Sumo. Pettinato remained with the band until it disintegrated with the death of Pod ran in 1987.

By then Pettinato had begun to venture into television as a late night music presenter. Pettinato continued to pursue his career as a musician by forming various groups and overseeing several experimental productions. His interest in both paid off and by the mid-90’s Pettinato began hosting a series of popular late night television shows in Argentina. His shows completely revolutionized Argentine television with their mix of music, interviews, humor and acidic political satire. Along the way Pettinato exposed his audience to artists that had largely gone unnoticed in Argentina. Artists like Van der Graff Generator, John Martyn, Nick Drake, The Velvet Underground, Ian Dury, and Joy Division with whom he had the connection to through the late Luca Prodan.

In November 2000 a chance encounter between Pettinato and Jose " Pepe" Navarro led to a discussion of how music is created. Within a couple of weeks Navarro and Pettinato set out to form an ad hoc band-The Pessi-Mystics-that included Pettinato, Navarro, Javier Saiz and Salvador “el Rojo” Agustoni. Ultimately Peter Bearish and brothers Gonzalo and Coco Rainoldi collaborated in the recordings. The resulting album would be “live” and without any rehearsal. The goal was not so much to “jam” but to spontaneously create the music even though the musicians had not rehearsed-in fact most of them had never even met-prior to the sessions there are clear shared influences in the music. Chief among them is the post-punk of Luca Prod an, the kraut rock of Holgar Czukay (Can) and contemporary psychedelia. In a departure from his normal role as saxophonist, Pettinato took on vocal duties and played guitar. The best of those experimental recordings were culled from two late night sessions. The result was ‘El Yo Saturado” (I am Saturated) .

The album was released in early 2001 to rave reviews in the Argentina press The opening track. “Joy Division (Three In The Morning) is an obvious tribute to Luca Podran and his friendship with Ian Curtis. It is as worthy of attention as any British or US single of it’s kind, but not surprisingly the song and the entire album found little attention outside South America’s limited alternative rock scene. Despite it’s critical success the album was released in a relatively small pressing, and has become highly sought-after.

This is an important, seminal work by an important group of artists. The album’s importance is punctuated by the fact that Roberto Pettinato is now one of the most recognizable figures in South America. He has gone on to become a media phemon and currently hosts the show Un Mundo Perfecto as well as publishing the popular South American rock journal La Mano. Pettinato is also the author of an account of his involvement in Argentina’s early alternative music scene as well as two books on comedy and satire.

dadastic! sounds is particularly proud to introduce ‘El Yo Saturado’ to a wider audience.

WATCH THE VIDEO 'JOY DIVISION THREE IN THE MORNING





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3 comments:

  1. Hi! I'm Jose "pepe" Navarro drummer of this project. Thanks for your support and attention, but my last name is Wrong! jajaja is Navarro!
    But is ok, i'm proud as fuck of this album.
    Any question or comments, let me know.
    Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jose-Sorry about the misspelling! Sorry it has been so long to see your comment!!!! I've made the changes. Contact me again if you read this;
    dadastic@dadastic.com
    Dennis White

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi! I find it very cool that you rereleased this mighty fine album. Just one correction. "El yo saturado" means "The saturated self", after a book by psychologist Kenneth Gergen.

    ReplyDelete