If you’ve been out to see live music in Portland much at all over the past half-decade, chances are you’ve seen one of the 20+ bands of local virtuoso, eccentric and all around good guy, Papi Fimbres. As a drummer/percussionist and flautist extraordinaire with a Latin/cumbia heritage, it’s no surprise that the groups he carries are mostly rhythmically upbeat, explosive and psychedelic. While many of his musical projects are improvisational based and don’t exist full time, more than a handful of the bands he plays in are among the best in the city, including but not limited to: Sun Angle, Máscaras, Paper/Upper/Cuts, Orquestra Pacifico Tropical, Hats Off, Gallons, Glass Knees, and No La La. Stream some of his music below.
To take a look inside the musical brain and at the influences behind such a seminal artist as he, for our second installment of Record Store Picks, we had the ultimate pleasure of meeting up with Papi at Mississippi Records, to pick out some of his favorite albums available on vinyl and chat about their significance.
Dam-Funk — Toeachizown
This is a single, but the whole album is the shit. Dam-Funk has been around for like over 20-something years. He was influenced by Zappa and Roger Troutman. it’s like future-boogie shit — super west coast, chill vibes. Just stoney-boney shit. There’s nothing else to say about Dam-Funk, aside from the fact that he fucking rules, and you gotta get down with him. If you love any form of hip-hop or any electro shit, he’s the man. (listen)
The Roots of Chicha: Psychedelic Cumbias from Peru
This next one is the Roots of Chicha compilation — it’s Peruvian Cumbias. A lot of people are barely getting into Cumbias right now, but the best way to introduce yourself to Cumbia would be with this psychedelic, surf-rock, Peruvian, tropical Cumbia compilation that’s incredible. “Chicha” actually is a beer that’s brewed with corn that really gets you fucked up. But it’s a hell of an album, beginning to end. It’s a good way to introduce yourself to a new genre called Cumbia. (listen)
Moondog — The Viking of Sixth Avenue
This next record is Moondog. He’s a super influential cat on all styles of my music. For one, he chose to be homeless on the streets of New York in the 40’s and was recognized by playing music on the street corners. And he was blind — he wasn’t born blind, though. He found a land mine as a child and took it home, and it blew up in his face, and from then on he was blind. He lived a long life. And he made his own instruments — one called a “trimba,” which is like a triple-sided wooden drum. And he made his own clothes. He was known as “The Viking of Sixth Avenue”. He was just very bizarre — very minimal, stripped-down, classical, obscure noises. Moondog, man. Moondog. (listen)
Mulatu Astatke — Mulatu of Ethiopia
This next record is Ethiopian jazz by this amazing dude name Mulatu Astatke. He plays vibraphones. Ethiopan jazz is their interpretation of what jazz actually is, but in fact, it’s completely different. It doesn’t even sound like jazz to me. It’s bizarre. It’s hard to define. There are jazz elements in it, but there aren’t — it’s just it’s own entity. It’s from Ethiopia in the 70’s. There are so many amazing artists. The first place to go if you want to dig deep into Ethiopian jazz is a compilation called Éthiopiques. There’s like 14 volumes of that, so dig deep into that and see where that takes you. [Editor’s Note: As of 2014, there are 29 volumes.] (listen)
Angola Soundtrack: The Unique Sound of Luanda 1968-1976
This last record is an amazing compilation from 1968 to 1976. It’s called Angola Soundtrack, and this compilation is very beautiful and really sad and psychedelic and tropical. It’s super guitar heavy, but extremely melodic. Very rhythmic and really raw — really rootsy. It’s all over the place. It’s like psychedelic merengue. They had this interpretation of tropical music, and they took it to Africa, and it’s completely different. It’s so beautiful. They even sing in Spanish, which is bizarre. It’s an African country that actually sings in Spanish — it’s so unique! It’s amazing. It’s beautiful. You gotta get this comp. It’s the shit. (listen)