There is a kind of myth about the original cover of Argentine acid, released first on vinyl and just in the watershed year when that format began to give way to CD: Ricardo Iorio had thought of making the cover with a die-cut plate of lysergic acid, to be divided into cardboard. Iorio himself once told it.
Could it have been true? More verifiable is the work they had to do to bring José Laluz’s illustration to the cover, which would end up making it famous: the artist’s drawing on paper and a rotating scanner were necessary. 1991, a year of difficulties: the band had recorded the twelve songs on the album and the design was resolved, but on the cicada, Iorio proposes the unimaginable. “It occurred to him that it had to have a very distinctive color,” recalls Sergio Fasanelli, director of Radio Tripoli, the label that released to the H in activity. “A bright orange,” proposed Iorio. And the label followed it to the end: it also added a UV lacquer job, a quality finish that record companies had abandoned decades ago.
Finally, the lid bears a bold orange frame. “He was a real eye catcher: that color drew attention from a distance from the window of a record store, or any other venue,” acknowledges Fasanelli. In a few months, Argentine acid it sold sixty thousand copies and became a Platinum Record.
One color enters so many colors to make Acid the right album, at the right time and place: Hermetic in his hour of grace, striking with those piercing conurban etchings in the year of the debut of the first cycle of Cavallo in the Ministry of Economy, the launch of the convertibility as a shining sword and a vigorous Menemism after favorable legislative elections.
A year earlier, George Bush had been received with honors into the Chamber of Deputies. The drawing of Laluz on the cover of Argentine acid shoots links to various songs on the album, but also carries a heavy warning about what was about to become more acute: Uncle Sam subduing a woman in a red Phrygian cap, police officers advancing on white-scarfed ladies, above a church besieged by crows, below the offspring cornered. There are olive trees and there are skeletons. The drawing – like the disc it illustrates – is from 1991.
Ricardo Iorio lived in Caseros, Tano Romano in Villa Insuperable, La Matanza, and Claudio O’Connor in Lavallol, Lomas de Zamora. For Hermetic, the Conurbano was an experiential territory and internal exploration, but also the place from which to project a worldview: from “In the streets of Liniers”, the last postcard from Buenos Aires before entering the west of the GBA with the Sarmiento, to “The revenge of America”, insolent historical revisionism months after the gargantuan celebrations for the 500 years of the first voyage of Christopher Columbus, Argentine acid he paints the world from that iorian village. A mix of Motörhead, Larralde and the Basilio school at a time when audiences were distracted watching the “tiragoma” of Rhythm of the Night or Gerardo Sofovich cutting an apple live.
Hermetic He had already been filming for almost four years and had two previous experiences in the studio: in 1988 they recorded their debut album and in 1990 they made Interpreters, a maxi EP with various versions. For Acid They not only have more hours of study, but — fundamentally — with better equipment. At that point the H I already had a significant number of flight hours. What was still missing was someone who could record that. Unlike other discs of Hermetic (and also of the later races of Iorio and Romano), the technical production was not in charge of Álvaro Villagra, but of Martín Menzel. “We were looking to participate in some way, perhaps without knowing the technical vocabulary, but trying to understand how we wanted each of our instruments to sound,” recalls Tano.
The band took over the artistic production. A laboratory work in which Iorio’s lyrics and Romano’s music or arrangements meshed together, plus the incorporation of Pato Strunz, key in that additional march that at times Argentine acid has in relation to the previous album.
The acid kitchen
The composition gymnastics that predominated in Hermetic is more or less well known: “Ricardo used to show his songs on a Creole guitar and I was in charge of transforming them so that the whole band could play them,” says Tano. “Maybe my songs were a little more elaborate from the musical point of view. But Ricardo was spontaneous: what mattered to him was what the song said ”.
Unlike the first album, and Victims of the Void, Argentine acid it has few songs signed by Romano: just three. “On that album, I dedicated myself more to working on the songs that Ricardo brought in the Creole. To give them the touch that allows us to continue sounding powerful. So that they sound like heavy metal ”. The addition of Pato Strunz – instead of Tony Scotto – added more horsepower to the band through double kick. A rhythmic added value that expanded the horizons of the sound that Tano Romano liked: “Fast riffs”, he sums up.
And if well Argentine acid It is a much more galloping album than its predecessor, there is also room for a half march… which ended up being epic: “I like twisted riffs, that’s why one of Acido’s favorite songs is“ Vientos de poder ”, I love it says the Romano. But “Memory of centuries”, for example, is a song that if you play it instrumental, it becomes heavy and long. However, Ricardo’s lyrics leave the music on another plane. What he wrote becomes the most important thing in the song ”.
A hymn that none of his musicians could stop playing: Iorio, with Strong soul, and O’Connor, as a soloist, came to re-record it. Although the lyrics and music are registered in SADAIC on behalf of Ricardo, Tano does not fall into false modesty and assumes the obvious: “I think I put a nice solo on a very melodious song, I wanted to give it a vibe Black sabbath… And it seems to me that we succeeded ”.
“When I brought songs, Ricardo listened and waited to see what it generated, what it made him think about. “Avoiding the softening” I think is a good example of that mechanics: the music led him to the ritual of heavy metal, and that’s how he wrote what he wrote. His lyrics were really incredible ”, Romano adds.
“Musically, Claudio’s voice, my rffs and Pato’s drums made it very clear that it was the three of us who made the songs sound that way,” explains Romano. But he ends: “Sure, then there were Ricardo’s lyrics, which were something very important in the songs, if not the most important thing.”
The H and the after
“Argentine acid It was the album that defined Hermetic like a big band ”, Sergio Fasanelli bench. “I say this not only as a guy who worked with them, but also as someone who had incredible nights watching them on stage. With the songs from that album, plus those from the first and InterpretersThey already had a good repertoire to play for two hours. For Radio Tripoli It was very important, and we are proud, but apart from the work that could be done to market the album with presentations and advertisements on radios and magazines of the time, the important thing is the music. And that album has songs! I remember that, in one lap, they started the show with “Winds of Power”, but before the intro of “Red-hot Skull”… and it gives me goose bumps. Those things mark your life ”.
“I am proud to have achieved what we achieved with Argentine acid: we traveled the country and reached the hearts of many people ”, recalls Tano Romano about what he had in store for Hermetic the publication of that album, the appearance of those songs … and the cultural appropriation made of them by many people who, suddenly, and perhaps for the first time, felt challenged. Thirty years later, while pivoting between Malon and his solo project, he also supports The H Didn’t Die, a self-tribute that began as something exceptional and ended up continuing for the simple reason that people continue to appear willing to see them. “Today young boys still come who listen to our songs and feel influenced: they put together a band, or they put out songs to play or sing at home. It is great to be able to continue generating that emotion, even in people who were not even born when they existed Hermetic”.