Monday, January 22, 2007

Vecchio - Afro-Rock

Every so often I come across a review that talks about an unjustly forgotten genius, and every time it turns out that his output is obscure for some very good reasons, and its place in the 50 cent bin is well-deserved. But if there is one exception to that rule, Vecchio must be the one.
What is known about them would probably fit on a matchbox. Vecchio is named after a keyboardist Luis Vecchio (who, I think, is italian); the rest of the band is unknown and I am not sure if it really was a band rather than studio musicians. Afro-Rock is on the De Wolfe "library music" label.
Apparently, in the 70s some TV producers figured they'd like to have a store of prerecorded music ("a sound library") to pick from if need be. They would hire a bunch of anonymous hacks to bash out ten, twenty, fifty hours of faceless elevator muzak, and when someone shoots a show, they can just go pick out something from the shelf instead of recording a soundtrack specifically for the occasion. This policy generated hundreds and hundreds of hours of, yes you guessed it, faceless elevator muzak. For some reason it recently got popular with the DJ types who delight in obscurity; there are many compilations of the least-faceless tracks under the titles like "Music for dancefloors" or "Cream of [label name] library sessions", and, IMHO, the whole thing is a damn travesty.
BUT NOT THIS! Afro-Rock is a massive fat ten-ton monstergroove of a record; it's not faceless, it's in-your-face. A barrage of afro percussion, tight fusion-brass section and pumping funk bass all melt into a seamless forty-minute groovefest to fry your brain. I first heard it on the excellent Africafunk compilations, where he easily outfunked such monsters as Tony Allen, Manu Dibango, and the mighty mighty Fela himself. This is the only record which stays on my iPod ever since I got it (the record, I mean). I truly cannot recommend it enough! If a casual visitor is to take one thing from this blog, let it be this one.

I'll conclude with the last shred of info on Vecchio himself: apparently, this record overloaded his fuses and he left for Canary Islands to join a religious cult. He recorded one other album as a keyboard trio. From what I hear, it's about Solar Christ and aliens.

REUP: mediafire
192kbps, 65mb
1. Megaton
2. Renegade
3. Facade
4. Chabati
5. Green Hell
6. Boss
7. Nsambei
8. Waboco
9. Cult
10. Ngoma-ku


  1. Man, that's one juicy description. I wanna get it. Too bad the file is "temporarily unavailable", I'll try again in a minute, maybe it's me.

  2. Never you mind! It's trickling in now, slowly but surely.

  3. Thanks for this. I already had some Vecchio which I liked, so I look forward to hearing this.

  4. hey man! your right this is a killer album! ... have you heard the budos band, antibalas or the daktaris?.. worth checking if you havnt!....

    btw...have you got any information on Vecchios other album... its sounds pretty interesting... ;)


  5. Hello Mik,
    I haven't heard of the bands you mentioned. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll seek them out.
    I suspect that Vecchio's other album is even more obscure than this one... which is pretty damn obscure already. I only met a few mentions on the collectors' forums and such, but haven't seen it online or elsewhere. I don't know if it's worth searching, either.
    If you think that "Solar Christ and aliens" is intriguing, check out Yahowha, that's some cooky outer-space shit.

  6. good call on the yahowa!, i discovered them a few weeks ago after hearing some of their stuff on that father yod is out there!!.. I love the weird and strange stuff ;).. so feel free to reccomend anything Strange!

    I've managed to track down some samples of vecchios other lp on soulstrut site, actually sounds quite normal!...

    the 3 bands i mentioned are all modern perveyors of the afrobeat sound.. Id definitely reccomend the daktaris soul explosion lp...always gets me dancing anyway! ;)
    .. antibalas latest lp "security" is a good one too.

  7. Unfortunately this guy Vecchio was, or turned into, an asshole conman. Speaking as someone close to one of his marks, I'm glad he's dead now.

  8. Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, great musical talent does not presuppose other virtues in a person, moral or otherwise.
    What happened there, though?

  9. I met Luis Vecchio in Las Pamas in the late 70s, joined him and Don Jetter in a jam session in the Tambanova Jazz Club.
    Damm good keyboardist. And a very nice guy. We played some Chick Corea and Weather Report that night.

  10. damn !

    none of the links seem to be working - any chance of a re-upload ?

    this sounds so awesome - i agree "Budos Band" rule also

  11. Trouble is, he used his music to compound his tricks. He got my Mom and a friend of my child, as well as putting me into debt for years. I couldn't believe it was happening. This is the first time I've checked his name, so relieved to hear he's dead.

  12. Just came across this, love your blog. Just wanted to say thanks, I like both the music and the way you're describing it here.

  13. Thanks, I am enjoying your site so much I decided to take your recommendation on this (plus, I love Afrobeat). Can't wait to hear it.

  14. whew!! this a stone groover,thanks. love your site you dig the good stuff,boogie on - dr.watts

  15. Major thanks! I did this quick edit of the last tune yesterday:

  16. I'd love to hear this, would a reup be possible?