Sergio Ch. Posts “La Familia y las Guerras” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sergio ch

At the time it came out four years ago in 2015, Sergio Ch.‘s first solo album, 1974 (review here), seemed to take shape directly from out of the third offering from his band Ararat, 2014’s Cabalgata Hacia la Luz (review here). The two shared several tracks, among them “La Familia y las Guerras,” and both had an overarching purpose in introspection, an intimate feel that manifested in experimentalist-tinged folk in one and brash heavy punk/rock in the other. Still, they were linked, and with Sergio Chotsourian‘s songwriting at the epicenter, they held a consistency that went beyond whatever sonic disparities there may have been. Different appeal, same level of quality between them.

Chotsourian has since gone on to form the trio Soldati and begin to dole out singles and other short releases ahead of an eventual full-length, and he’s also put out the second acoustic-ish album, 2017’s Aurora (review here), as well as several collaborative efforts of various stripes, but I still break out 1974 on occasion, and songs like “La Familia y las Guerras” are a big part of why. Arrangement-wise, there’s nothing outlandish about it, and it’s not as drone even as some of the material on the subsequent full-length would be, but it carries a nonetheless open feel and is spacious thanks to a bit of echo while still staying intimate in a close-up-to-the-mic vocal-style from Chotsourian, who if he didn’t record it live certainly gives a convincing facsimile of having done so.

As to why now would be a time to make a video for a song on a record that was released so long ago, I’d only ask the obvious question: “Who cares?” In addition to the aforementioned and long-bandied Soldati long-player, there’s been word that Chotsourian will do another solo offering under his own name, and that will be something to look forward to, but in the meantime, why not shut up and take what one can get? If that’s going for a backwards walk in some hot-looking desert space, then so be it. One could, of course, do a lot worse, both in the video and in life generally.

I’ve also included the full 1974 stream below, in case it’s been a while.


Sergio Ch., “La Familia y las Guerras” official video



Sergio Ch., 1974 (2015)

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South American Sludge website

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Sergio Ch. Releases 1974 Limited CD

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 4th, 2015 by JJ Koczan


Now, Google’s translation matrix may have played hell with some of the copy in the quote below from current Ararat and former Los Natas frontman Sergio Chotsourian — who also has a new band called Soldati that will be worth keeping an eye on — but the point you want to take away from the whole thing is that Sergio Ch.‘s solo album, 1974, has gotten a limited release on CD through his own South American Sludge imprint and Oui Oui Records. The album continues to build on the personal themes that Ararat‘s 2014 outing, Cabalgata Hacia la Luz (review here), put forth, drawing on different interpretations of some of the same material to give a companion feel from one release to the next while still covering raw, untrod ground.

I continue to await the day when Sergio Ch. puts up a webstore with international shipping, but if you can track down the limited CD version in the meantime, it’s worth the effort. Sergio Ch. also has a new video for “Las Piedras” from the album (a different incarnation was on the last Ararat as well), and you can see that under the album info below, which came down the PR wire:

sergio ch 1974

“1974” produced artistically by its author, is a release of Oui Oui Records South American Sludge Records.

A limited edition CD 13 songs that reflect concepts of life, redemption and exchange format transformed into work.

In the words of Sergio Ch:
“1974 is the story of my journey. A meeting with myself, with my ghosts, my demons. So it was lightning in the dark to start riding towards the light”

“In 1974 the concept was that the songs remain the most crude and simple as possible, with fewer elements to define them. No recording quality, but color takes sought. Therefore Creole and acoustic guitars and piano They took great character in the main audio. As the voices, poetry and audio was most important for this record. Almost like a search from the lo-fi. Some of the songs were the first shots of some issues that then They formed part of the album Ararat “Ride into the light”. Others are part of my history, my experiences and radical changes that I made in the last years of my life. The dark and heavy as possible rock is intended, in the manner and form in which the message of the song, either with a note and a word can convey that manifests itself. It does not take a double bass and 10 distortion pedals to make battery. The dark and heavy is the message same, in this case the change, the break and how to get ahead in life no matter what happens.”

Sergio Ch., “Las Piedras” official video

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Doomsower, 1974: Born to be Stone

Posted in Reviews on October 9th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

A self-released, full jewel case, four-track/36-minute full-length with tonal burl, a simple but effective songwriting modus, drum sound hijacked right from garage rock and the title 1974 – I’m having a harder time coming up with an argument against near-Portland, Oregon’s Doomsower’s first LP than arguments for it. The impulse is not to try. Yeah, the trio of Justin (vocals/guitar), Levi (bass/vocals) and Matt (drums) have some pretty rough production on 1974, and if we’re going by Deep Purple and Sabbath albums alone, 1971 was unquestionably a better year, but the rawness of the recording – which was put to one-inch tape at the hands of engineer Rick Duncan – adds to the charm and the front cover (also appearing as a foldout in the CD liner) and the back cover photo come from an EPA photo project that took place in ’74, so everything works in the context of the record as a whole, most especially the main riff of closer “Stone,” which comes right out of the Steppenwolf, “Born to be Wild” playbook. That track and opener “El Camino Real” both appeared in shorter versions on Doomsower’s 2011 Earth Demo, and “Beam Machine” – the third and shortest cut on 1974 at 6:44 – was released as a digital single with a Weedeater cover “Time Served” (from Sixteen Tons) as the B-side earlier in 2012. That leaves the 10:54 “Mistress of Frost/Judgement” (sic) as the only track making its first appearance on 1974 – though “Stone” was previously called “Stone Pussy” – though it matters little, as all the material is relatively recent and the band creates a full-album flow without being hindered by unintentional choppiness in either the writing or the recording, beginning with opener “El Camino Real,” which opens with a mission statement of a bassline from Levi and moves shortly to insistent and well-fuzzed groove that sets the tone for much of 1974’s blend of classic doom, heavy rock riffing and a punk-born carefree mindset that contributes greatly to the laid back feel the album conveys despite being righteously heavy and at times, abrasive.

One of those times, as it happens, comes toward the end of “El Camino Real,” when screams back Justin’s early-The Obsessed-style vocals in the last round of the chorus, “One day’s ride/El Camino Real/The path to heaven/Only leads to hell.” Prior to that, there was little in Justin’s wah’ed glory and ultra-fuzzed leads that hinted at a bent toward the extreme. It’s not out of place, but it doesn’t happen again on 1974 and it’s a little bit like Doomsower fired the gun in their first act. I’d call it a sequencing issue, but “El Camino Real” works where it is on the album and Justin’s cleaner vocals hold sway for the vast majority of the time, as does his guitar, which leads through an improvised-feeling solo past the midsection, leaving Matt to provide the subtly adept changes behind, driving the band headfirst into a slamming groove before breaking and punctuating the swirling fuzz rumble before the vocals kick back in at 6:42. Lyrically, the song deals with the clash between native peoples and Spanish colonialists in California, so the last-minute anger works in terms of the historical narrative, it’s just surprising. To compare, “Mistress of Frost/Judgement” is relatively minimal, beginning with bass, guitar and vocals only – no drums – and setting a more downtrodden mood immediately, personal with lines about the speaker in the lyrics having his heart stepped on and so forth. Levi and Justin are through two verse/chorus cycles (perhaps that’s the “Mistress of Frost” portion of the song) before the drums kick in and the pace kicks up, but the effect is engaging in a kind of raw early-‘80s woman-done-me-wrong metallicism. Wah takes them through a rough-hewn psychedelia, but even when it slows, the song has less patience and more emotional intensity than a designation like psych might convey – though Justin’s lead just before the halfway mark has sufficient buzzsaw to it to make it still applicable, and backing organ gives a spooky feel as Doomsower bring up a wash with about four minutes still to go. They emerge from the mini-melee with a potent stoner rock groove, familiar but wholly unpretentious, and ride its fuzz through a lead section and the gradual deconstruction of the song, the layers of effects on the guitar held to a strong foundation by Levi and Matt’s playing so that when Justin goes back to the riff in the last 15 seconds, the guitar has a place to land.

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