“Sounds like a lost night in the Amazon with a Moog, drum machine and leather jacket. Psychedelic, playful and authentic.” — Will “Quantic” Holland
What if Brian Wilson, Arthur Lee, Elliot Smith, Ralf Hütter, Eliades Ochoa, Nino Rota, Cluster and Ennio Morriconi went on a vision quest to Peru and brought a 4-track with them? What if they hung out and jammed with Los Wemblers de Iquitos at an itinerant circus in the jungle, bumped into Alejandro Jodorowski in the midst of filming a lost epic in the Temple of The Sun at Machu Picchu, and were abducted (along with their tapes) by a sexy alien piloting a glowing UFO? Curious? Then come with C.A.M.P.O.S. on an audio journey to find out what that could sound like...
C.A.M.P.O.S. is the solo project from multi-talented multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer Joshua Camp, aka Josué Campos (Chicha Libre, One Ring Zero, Litvakus as well as sideman for Los Crema Paraiso and others). What does the enigmatic name C.A.M.P.O.S. stand for? Officially it’s Cumbias And More Psychedelic Original Sounds, but you have to sit down and listen to these two records in their entirety to grasp its meaning fully. It’s all here: from lo-fi experiments to lush soundscapes, field recordings to dance-floor ditties, stories of love and war, slavery, revelation, redemption, temptation, ruin, rebirth, and through it all, the healing power of music seen through the steamy lens of magic-realism.
A mutual friend, pianist Marlysse Simmons (Bio Ritmo, Miramar), encouraged Peace & Rhythm to inquire with Mr. Camp about a cache of unreleased recordings in his archives. She had heard some of the songs and thought we’d be interested. Amazingly, these tracks were tunes that had been shelved or left on the cutting room floor from past years. Recordings that either never got finished, came from other incomplete projects, were rejected demos for previous albums, or were slated for an upcoming but never recorded release.
Once Joshua realized how excited Peace & Rhythm was by this pool of unreleased music and understood our desire to put them out, he tweaked and tinkered with some, fleshed out others that were mostly bare bones, revamped still others that he had always wanted to get to but had not really had the validation, right context, or time to complete. Here was the perspective of someone else, from outside the history of this music, urging him on, valuing this refugee group of orphaned, discarded and under-fed recordings, seeing them for what they could be: an imaginary travelogue, an accidental concept album of psychedelic tropical Americana. Like the soundtrack of a movie Joshua Camp has always wanted to make but then it turns out it’s all in his head. What a place to be… And now you too can join him in his magical tropidelic world of miracles and criminals.
P&R-LP-005 C.A.M.P.O.S. Miracles & Criminals 2xLP (gatefold, colored vinyl with download card), available for purchase here.
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Band site: https://campos.bandpage.com
Soon after Peace & Rhythm hooked Joshua up with a gig at The Green River Festival and he assembled an expert backing band made up of friends and colleagues he had played with in other bands in order to play some of the songs (plus a few covers) at the festival. The audience loved it and the players had a great time together. Later they started practicing more and began to gather more material, with members now contributing their own ideas to the mix. The band seemed to take on a more hybrid existence, and they decided to call it something else since it was no longer that one-man-band feel, nor did they play Joshua's music exclusively any more. As Joshua aka C.A.M.P.O.S. himself tells it: Now the wheels started to turn and I had to figure out how to perform this project live. After a fortuitous false start of a 5-piece band (which ultimately became Locobeach), I started to put together a solo live show, a hybrid of old and new technology. I felt this project could only work live with a strong visual / video component so I began teaching myself some basic video editing skills using public domain footage. These videos quickly took on a distinct style and lent themselves perfectly to the C.A.M.P.O.S. music.
Which brings us to now:
As always, there are silver linings to dark times, especially if you’re an alchemist like Joshua. As the global pandemic closed in, he decided to get busy evolving and honing this miraculous and idiosyncratic entity called C.A.M.P.O.S. that he had created:
Fast forward to our current lockdown era and I decided this was the perfect project to create a ‘live’ video series of one of my C.A.M.P.O.S. sets. This is a culmination of a few years of tinkering and experimenting to meld video and audio together in a live solo setting, not to mention months of being cooped up in my music studio… I am pleased with the result and I hope you will be too!
The new record continues to reveal fresh elements and reward the listener with little aural treats upon repeated plays. While Miracles & Criminals was the foundational piece in Joshua’s journey as C.A.M.P.O.S., Shake Up the World: Live In The Studio, Volume 1immediately drives home the sense that an evolution has occurred, sounding fuller, warmer, more organic, confident and dynamic, yet it is at its heart essentially the same because it all emanates from Joshua’s hand. For those familiar with the first album, you’ll love hearing your favorite songs reimagined, stretched and fleshed out into living, breathing performances. The two “new” songs (which had been played out on stage in venues prior to lockdown, but were not a part of Miracles & Criminals), “Vinho Verde” and “The Saddest of Parties”, take us in opposite directions while still retaining that quintessential C.A.M.P.O.S. sound. The latter maintains the central structure of the South American cumbia so prevalent in the previous release but gradually takes it to another level of sonic splendor, while the latter sounds like some forgotten demo collaboration between Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails if their medication was working for them.
And then there are the accompanying videos for this project. When you see them, you get a fly-on-the-wall peek at how the creative process ties into the performative act. The overall vibe feels like a bootleg suite of clandestine electro-tropical-psych-prog rock set pieces filmed in grandma’s attic during the last days of the cold war in Eastern Europe, made to inspire an underground rebel movement that never happened. While the new record may not exactly “shake up the world,” it should indeed turn some heads because Joshua the mad alchemist has distilled his own bubbly batch of “vinho verde” in the lab and turned it into one of the happiest of parties this side of the mango curtain.
Purchase the new digital album here