Palo Pandolfo and Las Meninas

Palo (every musician, bah) had a hard time choosing his own favorite album. Some evade that decision out of vanity (“all are preferred”). Others, out of laziness (“I never thought about it”). And, if not, there will always be at hand that phrase that, from so remanufactured, became unbearable: “Records are like children, impossible to have predilections.” But, unlike the vast majority of his colleagues, Pandolfo offered a justification that sounded sincere, credible and crude (perhaps as his life was, perhaps as his music will be): “You are not always friends with all your parts and all your stages. I try to be happy with my work, accept myself and open up, but sometimes it happens that you simply … disagree with yourself. Terrible discussions in front of the mirror. And an album, sometimes, crystallizes moments from your past … that you can’t get rid of ”.

Just after time he granted an armistice with his artistic corpus. “I made friends with all my songs,” he assumed, as if he had closed an internal cycle. Rock – which, as a rule, always requires parricides – had generated the opposite effect in Palo: suspicion was with his old creations. It had happened to him with “Espiritango”, (second album by Los Visitors, 1995, a year of convergence between the so-called New Argentine Rock, Latin influences and the footballing of recitals in the midst of Menem’s re-election). “About ten years after taking it out, it started to seem weird to me. And then it took a long time to bank it again, “he said. He also valued albums from his solo process, a trip that coincided with the beginning of the new millennium (“like ‘Ritual Criollo’, or ‘Transformación’, which breaks your head,” he banked).

But, given the choice of one and only one, last February Pandolfo played it while it was pouring outside and everything seemed to fall apart. The artist was stationed in a Villa Gesell inn after playing in Mar Azul, waiting to see if he could travel to Pinamar to do the same that night. The storm had turned the coast upside down and, in the background, sirens were sounding: they were fire engines going to a fire in the rain. The apocalypse seemed imminent. Palo had just gotten up from a nap, was drinking water and talking very calmly. If the End of Times was coming, then that seemed to be the right time to leave testimony as a final verdict.

“Without a doubt … I am left with” Homeland or death. ” It was very cool and that gave it a lot of character. In addition, in the same year it was composed, recorded and played. It was all very “now, now, chac-chac”. He had a hellish urge, ”Palo surprised. Don Cornelio y la Zona came from his debut album with “Ella venrá” as a hit that, more than a success, seemed to become a drag (another of the songs with which Pandolfo made peace only after decades). The group then reorganized itself at Panda Studios under guru Mario Breuer and recorded dark and feverish material that, for some, seemed ahead of its time.

Although for others, on the other hand, it was a contextual record of that culturally, socially and politically convulsed year between deaths of all kinds (from Miguel Abuelo to Federico Moura, from Alberto Olmedo to the femicide perpetrated by Carlos Monzón), military riots, hyperinflation, the factual powers pushing (and pushing) Raúl Alfonsín plus looting as the closing of a 1988 that would precipitate the symbolic end of that short decade.

Perhaps because of the year it was released, perhaps because of the name chosen, or perhaps because of what goes on more in the head of the listener than of the one who sings, “Patria o muerte” accumulated numerous readings on a political note and was even the subject of academic research. But Palo cleared up all the doubts just in time: “Everything is given by a coincidence of factors, and” Homeland … “had many that came together to make it become that expressive and disruptive bomb”. And he added: “Many times I read that this album reflects the reluctance or the crisis of the democratic process and so on. But the truth is … they have nothing to do with it! It’s super self-referential, like 80 percent of the songs I did. And, in that particular case, about my battle against my own demons. A hyper personal journey that took me to that vibrant and cathartic moment ”.

“It is true that sometimes paintings or social frescoes escape me. They are things that just happen. Although you absolutely always end up talking about yourself. Even though you talk about another, it is always what happened to you, what did not happen to you and what you thought was going to happen. Pain, pleasure, all sensations that are part of you. Even the mistakes! Because mistakes help … the other, ha. Anyway, “Homeland or death” has that search from the error, the chaos, the night, the abyss “.

The storm continued to sound on the roof of the inn, the smell of rain filtered through the cracks in the window and summer seemed to take a vacation for a while. Palo sighs, pauses, and goes from complex to simple through the most effective way: with an example. “I once saw a painting by Diego Velázquez. I stood before the painting for a while … and, suddenly, I had a vision that went beyond what I was looking at: I was seeing Velázquez himself painting. Despite the fact that in Las Meninas he painted himself, I didn’t need that, I saw it on my own in another painting. And I was moved to tears by the dedication of someone who leaves a human gesture and the transmission of the experience in a work over the centuries ”, recalled Palo, suddenly moved. “I often wonder what art is, what it is for. And I think that there I found the final answer: it serves to leave the experience of a person, to see if someone can use it in their favor, even if it is not to get excited “.


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