Imbibe and Listen volume one: Alpamanta Breva-Sum Intro

It was a night exactly like the rest. For one year, I’d been spending them in deep contemplation, allowing myself to float freely between notions of life…of death. The buzz of the record machine, needle at the end of the album, still spinning around even though it had no music left to play. I sat there listening to that needle move around that void, sinking further into my compulsions. News that Roky Erikson had passed was fresh on the brain, that record spinning into oblivion was the 13th-Floor Elevators.

Erickson was a talent that was lauded but often abandoned. Abandoned by friends, family, society at large. I felt very close to his predicament. My mind often tricking me into alienating everyone around me for my own good. 

It’s now the post-Erickson era, and that stings. The 13th Floor Elevators were kin to me. Producing sounds that encompassed neurosis and yearning. The movement paved many roads, and Erikson continues to experience the kind of cult following one could only wish for posthumously. Except, he was realized far before his demise. Mental illness. We don’t necessarily want to engage with it, but we want to consume it, those that suffer it…with an ardent passion, feigned empathy. In a universe that seeks to understand said mania, Roky was a beacon of some sort of hope, breathing life into notions that we’re all outsiders to one person or another.

It’s no surprise that this revelation led me straight into a bottle of elixir so pure it nearly made me cry. It’s also no surprise that I sought solace in other musicians that have drawn from Erikson and his psychedelic brethren. 

Underneath the facade, intimacy laid bare. Just like the madness that speaks to a condition neither hereditary nor adapted to. Being. Merely being…is a chore. But on some enchanted evening, your thoughts bring you to appreciate those before you that brought the rock, they brought the roll. And, as the sky falls, you see them ascend into the one radiant light that remains. That, the brightest star. Roky Erikson was one such supernova within the obscene noise which permeated stereo sets. That night, that seemed exactly like the rest, I decided to muster the courage to listen to the sounds that echoed the movement, paying homage to predecessors, to prove that Roky and the fruits of his labor were nigh, his touches…they’re still everyplace.

Currently residing in Argentina, I recalled the very first local band that I saw live, Sum Intro. They performed in a now-defunct venue up the road, hidden to passersby and accessed only by its bright orange door and buzzer that led patrons up a set of stairs and into an enclave packed to the brim with bodies. Christmas lights strung up on a make-shift patio that doubled as a refuge for the smokers, allowing for vice and wayward conversation. Floors that had just enough fernet and coke spilled on them to keep you planted firm enough during any flailing about you’d want to take part in while the sound wrapped around your ears like the echo of an ambulance siren that’d just sped by. Housed within were the rough-and-tumble rather than the jet-set. Dreamers, schemers, and those of us who’d kept our cards close to our chest. Out of reach, out of touch. Contorted shadow boxes full of secrets and desires that played nice with other children only when bribed with a nicotine patch or a good bottle of cheap bourbon.

I digress to the discussion at hand. The band, the wine, and the odd mingling of the two atop the tongue of a broad fraught with fragile thoughts and waking dreams.

The opening of minds, the insistence of outsiders, creativity that sprang out of the doldrums, depths of despair, mania, bliss, anxiety. The severity of the human condition and the way it collides with a bottle of Alpamanta Breva Rosé that tastes subtly of wild lilacs and lingonberry. Something so delicate yearns for music that’ll allow you to drift in and out as you please. Listening intently at once, then retreating into visions of sugar plum fairies as the tambourine on track three shakes on. It will draw you back in, as will the glass…as it whispers of sweet everything’s..sweet everything’s that stand up to rigid and complex emotions that keep you there, bated breath.

This is not always a subtle pour. The juice is savored by the taste buds as it lingers on the tongue, lavish…loud and not one to leave with haste.

Fuschia through and through cradled in its crystal drinking vessel and giving off sparks that stain the walls lit only by candlelight. A heavy magenta fog fills the cup. Hazy. I inhale tight and toned and crisp green bell pepper, fresh-cut grass as if I had leapt into deep meadows on the third day of spring. White pepper and as it unfurls, you can tell that rosé was always meant to be made this way. Syrah is a perfect grape for the venture.

As the wine passes the lips, it takes hold with that same herbaceous flirtation it had before. The fruit notes I can only liken to tart cherry, a bit of strawberry…not yet ripe, tied-up with sprigs of thyme, leaves of sage. Hibiscus. It’s a liquid delight. As hypnotizing and as luscious as the wanton vocals on this EP. Spinning around in those strawberry fields. Forever.

It’s no wonder a wine that takes form following the cycles of the moon flirts heavily with a sound that boasts it’s inhibition. Forces of nature of which the music and the wine rely upon. Unbridled. Unkempt. Never to be tamed by popular opinion. Celestial. Pure. Freeform.

Pink-hued and fit for Sunday fodder, this pairing is a fast trip towards nostalgia solely for nostalgia’s sake. Good, bad, or ugly as it may be. Berry-bright sips will guide you in, and a keen acidity will snap you back out.

Not just a pretty face here, folks. This is a bottle that speaks volumes, besides. Challenges a palate or three with its unencumbered take on a trend. Natural, not at odds with the surroundings that harbor these grapes till harvest. Working in line with the universe to create purity of place and time. Artistry in motion, perpetually. Not a tastebud unscathed once the cork’s been unlodged.

Raging rapid of enlightenment and tasting notes that aren’t needed to explain away any of the joy you might take-in as a result.

Breathe it in, let it ruminate…then slowly lift the liquid nearer your lips until it wanders around your mouth like the most thirst-quenching remedy you’ve imbibed.

The sound is lent by local natives, heavy into a scene. A scene of psychedelia, experimentation, and indie-regalia. Sum Intro draws a peculiar line in the sand, and it’s the one I always seek to step-over. Live shows among like-minded crowds swaying to the hypnotic underpinnings of brutal realism. A dreamlike salute to the resistance and the resistance, this time… it’s not futile. Instruments mingle, voices drone on in aspiration-like paranormal fugue. And if you listen close enough, you might just hear half a gospel, if that gospel instructed you to submit to flights of fancy.

The wine begins tart and light on the palate, opening up to provide herbaceous and deep undertones that remain on the tongue after the sip is through as the reverberations of sound linger in the temporal lobe.

Psych rock, heart palpitations…is it the amount I’ve ingested or merely the subtle dissonance of these understated tracks? So long as it beats, however heavy… I’ll rejoice in the pairing that encourages a bit of madness by the light of a brazen full moon. Murmur, just under your breath. A wanton recollection of a dream, of a scene. Of something worth fighting for, worth waiting for.

Psychedelia is a parade of forethought, measured in sudden gasps for air, slight touches of humanity in city streets made for getting lost in a crowd.

It’s a not-so-subtle scream to the universe that grounds us in a movement.

Because, in the end, we’re all a bit mad. The wine, the music is our reinforcement, outlets that bring fury and delight.

An experimental dose of tranquility on the brink of sheer delight. Get lost in tune. Get heavy on a feeling. Procure your waking dreams or at least a set of sea monkeys.

The mood, mellow, and this pairing…each component challenges any preconceived notions.

It’s a haphazard yet refined match.

This tempting potion, lilac perfume, and cotton candy lead into a circus that the tune creates at a table set for one. Am I speaking to levity or levitation? It’s cerebral, a mighty excellent time.

Clamoring for a feeling, underserved, and over-caffeinated. Pensive musings of places and faces drift across my patio walls. They’re vivid and bright and marked with the type of nostalgia I can only imagine from a distance. I’m nothing if not a ball of angst smashed up against a large helping of my repressed feelings.

Feelings I can quickly summon while drinking a glass…savoring the carnal and hedonistic, light-hued, delicacy.

Breva delivers on its promise to hold dear all of the earthen treasures it relies upon. Its production is astute, nature takes its course…intervention is a cuss word and that unfiltered and unfined output isn’t lost on me.

This coupling opens the mind without being able to guarantee what the floodgates will produce. Insanity. Lack of moral compass, sharp-tongued ramblings, deep sentiment. But that’s half the fun. Abandoning just what it is society is comfortable with and being entirely true to form, all of your forms. Breaking the boundaries of simple interactions and getting quite real. 

A touch of rustic pleasure that leaves you sated, grounded. The wine is not only something to gaze upon, but it’s also something to savor. Slowly, please. Don’t disrupt its delicate place in time. I suppose gazing too long could leave you daydreaming, unproductive, but that’s where the music comes into peripheral view. Side-eye. Lazy days. Maybe we’re meant to take these things at will and not plan or plot them… perhaps we ought to let them inhabit our being whenever they see fit.

In Short for you folks without a proper attention span:

While Alpamanta’s Breva Syrah Rosé isn’t the second coming, it’s undoubtedly a wine full of potential. Potential to shake you from your hum-drum existence into a realm of complete amusement, bewilderment. Sum Intro does the same, and listening to their obra while sipping on this grape runoff will enhance it’s wild and glorious nature. This pairing is best suited for days you’ve not planned anything. Days you’re yearning for high inspiration and an artistic muse. This combination is like sneaking through the wardrobe to Narnia and seeing the world through enchanting new bifocals. Up is down and down is sideways, and the mind is such a beautiful thing to waste and waste away it will, under the dark of night, the light of day. Dusk till dawn. 

Floor 13, we’ve arrived and tumbling out of the elevator has never pleasured us more.

Put down the bottle? Turn down that noise?

Oh, no. Not quite yet.

-by Holly Jones, editor, On Tour Magazine

Sum Intro are Bruno Danza, Jonathan Florez, Guido Ilieff, Nacho Martinez.

Band Photo: Cata Lina

Alpamanta wines are produced by Andrej Razumovsky.

Unofficial Sponsor: Soil Wines, where I acquired this gorgeous bottle.