7 y 3 (1986)
This is a weird album. It starts with one of the best candombe-fusion recordings ever and continues with one of Jaime’s greatest top hits (a beautiful, controversial milonga), but it is far from just another hit-fueled masterpiece — 7 y 3 is unlike anything he’d ever done to date or since. It’s an album that grows with time but it may require several listens. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the original version of “El tambor,” but if after you watch the following video you’re not at least curious to get 7 y 3, then there’s no hope for your heart and ears. Here’s a live version of “El tambor” linked with a stirring take on “Tal vez Cheché” (from Mediocampo).
Liner notes by Guilherme de Alencar Pinto: “Released in late 1985, Brindis por Pierrot placed Jaime at the highest level of popularity in Uruguayan music. Six months later he started recording 7 y 3, a record that was completely different from its predecessor: It doesn’t have murga (for the first time in his discography), it doesn’t have guest solo vocalists, and it adopts a techno-electronic sound. This was due to Jaime’s tendency of refreshing each album with musical approaches contrasting those of the previous album. Moreover, 7 y 3 was simultaneously released with Todo a Momo — conceived and produced by Jaime, it was the first album by Canario Luna — and that’s where his two new murgas ended up: ‘Que el letrista no se olvide’ (first co-autorship with his old friend Raúl Castro) and ‘Reír llorando.’
7 y 3 continued the approach of Para espantar el sueño — an homogeneous concept with extended songs — and tried to get close to an international sound. This implied doing line-in recordings as much as possible, in order to depend the least on microphone quality and room acoustics.
Jaime was a friend of Jorge Nasser, having produced his first album (Era el mismo, 1985). Around that time, Níquel was formed, starting as a duo with bass (Nasser) and electric guitar (Argentina’s Pablo Faragó) that played over a Roland TR-808. In early 1986, Jaime arranged and co-produced ‘Cara a cara’ for Mariana Ingold’s Todo depende album, using Níquel’s lineup enriched by the keyboards of Estela Magnone (who would soon join the band). Encouraged by the good results, he adopted that team for 7 y 3.
Jaime programmed the drums at Nasser’s house. It was a painstaking job because these are not loops, but bases that emulate those of a human drummer, while having the sound and accuracy of a machine. In the meantime, he was selecting the bass lines for Nasser (who, curiously, had chosen him as a bassist for Era el mismo). Another factor for the modernization of the sound was the presence, for the first time in his discography, of digital keyboards. The only member of Repique (his live band) to join the [new] basic group was Alberto Magnone.
‘Te hizo vivir’ is the album’s exception. The arrangement was assigned to [Eduardo] Mateo who, after playing the base (on his bayan and bongo set) along with Jaime (on guitar), recorded a synthesized guitar framework that Jaime considered too dark for the song, even though he did keep the brief solo.
As soon as the recording started, Darío Ribeiro stopped working at La Batuta, so the album was finished by other technicians. One of them was Luis Restuccia, who was encouraged by Jaime to take charge of the console for the first time in his life.
In search of a better sound, Jaime and Luis went to Buenos Aires [Argentina] to mix at Moebio, the studio of legendary Uruguayan engineer Carlos Píriz. However, it was impossible for Jaime, in the only available week at the studio, to take on the album’s aesthetic control or to find, along with technicians belonging to a different musical culture, a sound that would continue being personal and Uruguayan. The album was re-mixed against the clock at La Batuta in late November 1986. (In 1989, two of the Argentine mixes were included in the Seleccionado anthology; you can listen to them on Selladas, Volume 13 of this collection.)
The cover photo was conceived by Jaime, the back cover photo was taken at the April 25, 1986 concert at Teatro de Verano, and the group’s photo (internally known as ‘The Munster Family’) was taken at Palacio Salvo.
‘La hermana de la Coneja’ — a milonga-rock influenced by Dino, and second co-autorship with Raúl [Castro] — was an instant hit.
In the first months of 1987 there were, therefore, two songs co-written by Roos-Castro: (‘La hermana de la Coneja’ and ‘Que el letrista no se olvide’) competing for the control of the charts. 7 y 3 went Platinum in its LP and cassette editions.”
Next page: Sur (1987).