Charly García

Kill Gil

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The never-ending saga of Kill Gil has apparently reached its conclusion, after five years or so of all sorts of rumors, allegations, Internet leaks, and EMI's refusal to publish it -- not to mention yet another bunch of incidents in Charly García's notorious life, including incarceration and forced hospitalization in a psychiatric asylum. Conceived as a rock opera, recording began in New York in 2005 with legendary producer Andrew Loog Oldham. Most of the tracks were leaked in 2007 (some say by the artist's own recording company to sabotage material deemed undeserving, others by García's son Migue in an attempt to free his father from his obsession with the project and focus on his health -- the truth will probably never be ascertained) and are now being officially released by Sony (instead of EMI) in a CD/DVD package that also contains a number of paintings by García. By the time of its late-2010 release, one year after García's triumphant comeback from the hell of El Concierto Subacuático, the cursed aura of Kill Gil had achieved quasi-mythical proportions. Most unfortunately, rather than the heralded "creative rebel's 'glimpse into madness' masterpiece," like Big Star's Sister Lovers or Syd Barrett's The Madcap Laughs, Kill Gil is closer to the most erratic of Daniel Johnston's albums. And at merely 11 tracks, it is certainly no match for the admirable insanity of Andrés Calamaro's El Salmón, recorded under similar personal circumstances. All of the delays and tribulations cannot mask the fact that Kill Gil is pretty much like all of the other García albums since he began a drug-fueled creative free-fall in the late '90s: a hodgepodge of unfinished, redundant, or uninspired tracks, covers, and the occasional flash of brilliance, such as García's version of Lennon's "Watching the Wheels," with Spanish lyrics that suit García's situation to a T. Saddest of all, no amount of technical or songwriting knack can conceal the all too obvious disintegration of García's voice. Had it been released in 2006-2007, perhaps the disappointment would not have been so great, as it would have seemed a logical follow-up to García's last records. However, after his 2009 public resurrection, expectations were high once more, particularly since a healthy García was supposed to have been retooling the project. In truth, it is hard to pinpoint any significant differences between the official release and the 2007 leaked version: it sounded like unbaked demos back then, and it still does now. "Kill Gil" is a pun on Tarantino's film, "gil" being not a name but Argentine slang for "fool." In other words, García is saying "let's kill all the idiots who do not understand me."