Los Lichis


This deep into the internet era its unusual to discover a weird ass band whove been active and recording since the 1990s without ever appearing as a blip on any known radar screen. Yet, here are Los Lichis: a Mexican music/art collective whose recording history goes back 18 years and whose sound is as powerful and strange as any combo around. Some might suggest that Mexico is not known for its underground sonic emanations, but many dig artists like Loch Ness, Chac Mool, Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, Los Llamarada and various improv types heard about from folks who tour down there. Some of Mexicos punk and metal bands have their moments as well. But none of them on the scale of Los Lichis.\r\n
\r\nLos Lichis were formed in 1996 in Mexico City by three visual artists_¢‚Ǩ‚ÄùManuel Mathar, Jos_ɬ© Luis ROjas and Gerardo Monsivais. They had met a year earlier and their social collaborations on drawings, collages and actions eventually morphed into musical experimentation. They ended up recording quite a bit of improvised psychedelic material using a variety of instruments they approached with more enthusiasm than knowledge. In Paris in 2000 for an exhibition of their work, Mathar and Monsivais met the French sound artist Jean-Baptiste Favory, who was excited by the cassettes they played him. Favory became the fourth member, visiting Mexico once a year to play live and record with Los Lichis, and to help in processing the resultant material.\r\nSoon after their French sojourn, a slightly different version of the group, featuring a couple of Mexican musicians, began playing and recording under the name The Cacaflies. Various CD-Rs and cassettes were released by the core group using both names, but the details are vague. Largely these recordings seem to have been distributed free at live shows. Several are also available online.\r\n
\r\nThe first vinyl issued by Los Lichis is the sprawling retrospective _¢‚Ǩ_ìDog_¢‚Ǩ¬ù, which includes material recorded throughout their first decade of activity (1997-2007). It is a massive work, and as defining as classic double albums like Richard Youngs and Simon Wickham-Smiths _¢‚Ǩ_ìLake,_¢‚Ǩ¬ù The Dead Cs _¢‚Ǩ_ìHarsh 70s Reality_¢‚Ǩ¬ù and Royal Truxs _¢‚Ǩ_ìTwin Infinitives._¢‚Ǩ¬ù Although its difficult to nail specific sonic bits to specific inspirations, Los Lochis admit to liking Can, Pink Floyd, Sir Richard Bishop and_¢‚Ǩ¬¶Ween! That said, musicians I would be more likely to compare their approach to are Ritual All 7-70, No-Neck Blues Band, Sun City Girls, Mako Sika and (especially) the French free rock combos of the 1970s: Mahogany Brain, Red Noise, Gutura and so on.\r\nThere is something very special about the way non-musicians approach music as an artform. Its usually something they have long appreciated from afar, and they often attack it with a unique brand of amateur gutso mixed with a sophisticated conceptual approach. los Lichis_¢‚Ǩ‚Äùnamed after a stray dog, not the tropical fruit_¢‚Ǩ‚Äùsound like a million different things from track to track and moment to moment. Ive been trying to map the evolution of their sound by cross-referencing the dates the material was recorded, but theres a delightfully shocking lack of standard technical advancement. This takes some doing.\r\n
\r\nWitness the brief flash of the no wave scene in NYC. When it began, many no wave band members were non-musicians involved in other artistic pursuits_¢‚Ǩ‚Äùpainting, movies, sculpture, etc. But over the course of a short year and a half, many of these same players began to understand the rudiments of rock dynamics well enough to become beholden to them. What had begun as a weird explosion of loud primitive sound art was destined to become mere rock n roll. Thankfully, the bands mostly imploded before this became a problem. But Los Lichis manage to document a decade of playing without showing evidence of their becoming trapped by structure (although the quality of the recordings definitely improves over time). This demonstrates a fairly perverse dedication, and sounds like a total blast.\r\n
\r\nSome bits (all of which are instrumental, barring the occasional flash of found radio squawk) remind me of Hawkwind, some are more like Noise Makers Fifes, some like International Harvester, others Sapat, but there are never any specific quotes that let you know these guys have even heard those artists.\r\n
\r\nSince they made it to France, and collaborate with a musician there whos pretty well connected, its possible to assume theyre fully clued in. But the fact they namecheck Ween (rather than Magical Power Mako or something) has the honesty of randomness, and reads like a suggestion that they really do hew their own path. They pick up whatever they find that interests them, but immediately break it up and toss it into their collage-engine. The process itself is not odd, but discovering people who have stuck to it for so long in this day and age is not easy.\r\n
\r\nLos Lichis have now recorded a brand new EP called _¢‚Ǩ_ìGiant Lichis_¢‚Ǩ¬ù with visual artist Ismael Merla joining on guitar. I would be lying if I didnt say this EP sounds a bit more together (in standard terms) than their earlier work. They incorporate a couple of dub elements in a way that recall the On-U Sound _¢‚Ǩ_ìMothmen_¢‚Ǩ¬ù LP, and there are some extended passages that focus on found-riffs that remind me of either The Homosexuals or Rick James. But ultimately _¢‚Ǩ_ìGiant Lichis_¢‚Ǩ¬ù is as implausible and original as any of their other work. Whether or not the music now exists inside of a known stream of sound, its very damn cool. What are the chances? - Byron Coley, The Wire.
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After nearly a decade of false starts, multiple game plans veering off the rails, and a handful of shattered hopes and/or dreams, the odyssey is finally complete—the new Fusetron site is here.

This is the first phase of a multipart rollout that will span the next few months: the currently browsable stock includes miscellaneous new releases from the past 8+ months (we have a lot of catching up to do), plus approximately a third of our backstock. Note that we’ve reduced/slashed prices on many titles and will continue to do so in order to make room for new stock. We’ll also be expanding / tweaking / improving / debugging the site itself (for example, we still have work to do on the automated international postage system, not to mention the inevitable inventory discrepancies that come with transferring an ancient and massive database to a new system).

Over the next few months, as we take inventory, clean house, and delve into our storage, we will be uploading thousands of additional items, gradually, on a near-daily basis. This will include the majority of the LPs, as well as many titles, in all formats, once thought long-gone. Many currently “sold out” items are likely to resurface.

Finally, once our general backstock is up (probably in the next two or three months) we’ll begin making our extensive stockpile of rarities available online for the first time: tons of random out-of-print titles, "deadstock," warehouse finds, secondhand collectibles, etc., accumulated over the past few decades.

Frequent/returning customers will be getting early access to these items. Details to follow on how this will work (a priority mailing list? a 'frequent flyer'-like program?), but it will not be based on dollars spent. We want to reward those who consistently support us, especially in the discogs marketplace era (to those who show up trying to poach five copies of a one-off rarity, and nothing else, ever… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

So—we suggest you take some time to dig through the site—even we’ve been surprised by what’s been turning up, and there’s much more to come.
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