Los Blops: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 4, 2022


541) Los Blops — “Los Momentos” (“The Moments”)*

A stunning folk rock song from Chile that “would become a classic of Chilean popular music” (http://losblops.blogspot.com/) and for Los Blops — the band’s name “inspired by the sound of a drop of water hitting the ground[ — it would be] their great legacy to Chilean popular music.” (https://www.musicapopular.cl/grupo/blops/)

The song was from the “[d]ebut from the experimental folk/rock band in the revolutionary days of the late 60’s in Chile” (http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=1496) — so revolutionary that Los Blops were booed by right-wing audiences, considered “sh*tty hippies”, but at the same time viewed with distrust by the Communists because of “their rather hippie orientation, their open sympathy towards marijuana, and their lack of greater commitment”! (https://www.musicapopular.cl/grupo/blops/)

Jorge Leiva recounts Los Blops’ history and legacy:

[It] was one of the few bands of the time that was able to transcend its Anglo-Saxon inspiration to give way to original creations with a powerful identity of their own. . . . After its dissolution, in 1973, its three albums constituted a lost heritage until the personal effort of its members allowed its reissue, in 2001. Their history includes . . . classic on the scale of “Los Momentos” and an impact that, although never massive, had a deep impact on a sector of the public and the Chilean music community.

The band emerged in 1964 . . . . its first repertoire with covers of bands like The Doors, The Who and the Rolling Stones. In the summer of 196[9] . . . . Eduardo Gatti joined . . . as guitarist . . . . [and] they made the decision to start composing their own songs. . . . Surprisingly, the Communist Party label, Dicap, was the only one that agreed to release an album by the Blops, despite the ideological mistrust aroused by their rather hippie orientation, their open sympathy towards marijuana, and their lack of greater commitment . . . . [T]he label gave them a few days of study, during which they recorded their first nine songs. At the end of those sessions, and almost accidentally, they decided to include a composition by Eduardo Gatti that they barely knew: “Los momentoes”. When Blops (1970) appeared, they never imagined that this song would be precisely their great legacy to Chilean popular music.

The band performed at the Viña del Mar Festival for three nights in 1971. They were part of the Dicap artists and were mercilessly booed by a[ right-wing?] audience that associated their name with the Unidad Popular [which Wikipedia describes as a left-wing political alliance in Chile that stood behind the successful candidacy of Salvador Allende]. . . . “As soon as the entertainer mentioned the name of the Blops, it was not necessary for the musicians to appear on stage for the public to boo them until they finished their presentation. The pure acoustic sound of the group was lost among the furious screams of the monster of the Fifth. Upon returning from the catastrophic performance, the dressing room awaited them with an eloquent line: “Get out of here, shitty hippies.” . . .

[Later,] part of the group lived as a community in an old convent on the border of the communes of Ñuñoa and La Reina (La Manchufela, they called it) . . . . After the recording of the[ir] second album, after reflecting on the festival experience, the band decided that they would not do any more lyrics, that they would abandon the acoustic instruments and that from then on they would be called Parafina. . . . [T]he band . . . could not survive the closing of spaces that followed the arrival of the military in La Moneda. The burning of their masters and the persecution of artists . . . forced them to withdraw. “There were no possibilities to continue,” confirms [bass player Juan Pablo] Orrego, who moved to Isla Negra for a few months with Eduardo Gatti . . . . What they thought would be a long stay of musical work ended up being cut short the following year, with the departure of all of them abroad.


Erik Neuteboom adds that:

The evidence of the qualitative leap they took from playing covers to creating their own music is in that first vinyl which appeared in 1970, a year marked by social, cultural and political transformations in Chile. Released under Dicap label, a historic record label founded in 1968 by the Communist Youth Organization, the album was self-produced. As Eduardo Gatti points out: “We were the only producers. That’s how that bouquet of rather strange flowers came out. ” In Blops there’s also a synthesis of the musical influences of the time, including rock of course. Eduardo Gatti goes back to that point:

“We had already researched the playing of (Bob) Dylan, Keith Richards, Clapton, so making an interesting weave with guitars was quite fascinating. And there came a time when we didn’t play any more covers because it didn’t make sense: it was time for our stuff. As we all mature, all this information that we had processed decanted in Los Blops ”.

And Orrego agrees: “We had all those aspects, but a very own musical language began”. . . .

Gatti looks back at those previous years: “I think we were very happy. I think the fact of living in a community gave us such a different vision, like we put together a mini-society within this society that was dismantling itself, in which we continued with tremendous energy, very luminous in our case. And that made us somehow able to survive everything that came after. . . . It never ceases to amaze me. We were not in the Nueva Canción Chilena, in the political song. We, along with Los Jaivas and Congreso, were unclassifiable. And we were unclassifiable the entire time we recorded and played. I think that also gave a freshness to all this that people have appreciated more and more over time. And I think it is still without any classification”.


* All the quoted text (other than the song lyrics) is an English translation courtesy of Google Translate.

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