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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Independientes", 20 years of Spanish indie


Are indie lovers and endangered species in Spain? With my deepest regret, I believe so. But despite being few and struggling, we are not alone, and we had a history behind us. That's what Independientes (Independents) shows. And I would add offers, because this documentary, directed by Jose A. Rueda and produced by La Fabriquilla De Creación Audiovisual is available to watch for free on youtube (see below). Excellent idea and proposal to start with, don't you think?

And Independientes has many attractions for the viewer. As an attempt to dissect how the national indie scene was created is clear and up to the point. There's not a lot of digressing and Rueda let the musicians and relevant actors do all the talking, answering his sort of fundamental and broad questions: is there a Spanish indie scene? how it was created? what does it mean being indie today?, etc. It's always a pleasure to hear and see people like Julio Ruiz (Radio 3 will never be thanked enough), Antonio Arias (Lagartija Nick), Nacho Vegas or Antonio Luque (Sr.Chinarro), among others (including half of Los Planetas, Lori Meyers, Maga, etc). Down-to-earth and really wise people

Some of the questions, in particular the latest ones that refer on what means being indie are the most controversial and interesting, showing also the singularity of the Spanish case. Take the example of Los Planetas, the most famous and pivotal alternative group in Spain. They signed with a major virtually since the very beginning of their career, but did that affect their music? Or take a more recent case, also used on the film: Vetusta Morla. Their music is (ok, arguably) on the mainstream side, but they opted for self-producing/releasing mechanisms, achieving one of the biggest successes in recent history of Spanish music.

But the modesty of the rockumentary is also a bit of a curse. With barely one hour of film it can't help but feel incomplete. It's all about alternative pop-rock sounds, missing many styles and bands who would have been relevant for the documentary. Some very important labels are also excluded from the film footage when talking about the first steps and the evolution of the independent scene. The same appeals to the present times. Independientes just poses the debate on the Internet and new channels for reaching fans. But there's so much that could have been added on that: small and emerging labels, the music venues, new bands, live music versus selling records, Festivals... Aww, the documentary should/could last seven hours!

Anyway, that sort of last criticism is quite unfair for Independientes, a movie that has to be praised just because of its mere existence. But we do want a second, third and fourth chapter!

SCORE: 6,75/10

Watch the documentary here! (it's in Spanish, sorry)

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