Itoiz — Ezekiel
(Elkar KD- 791, 1980/2008, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-08-01
By the time of their second album, Ezekiel, the lineup of this Basque band had grown from five members to seven, now including saxes, mandolin, electric piano, and even violin when required. The sound had changed from a rock base to one utilizing more folk understructures, and in some cases this was more evident at the surface as well – all the while remaining truly progressive in a no-nonsense sort of way. With more of an acoustic feel and elements of rock, jazz and Iberian folk incorporated into a more subtle whole, the album contains seven tracks of varying length, all tied together by one unifying theme of the life of the prophet Ezekiel.
Even though the overall feel is more acoustic, don't get the idea that the album doesn't rock – there are some very powerful moments here, plenty of sizzling guitar leads and driving sax solos. In comparison to other Spanish bands with a strong folk flavor, the closest would probably be Ibio. Unlike Triana, Bloque, Mezquita and others, Itoiz has nary a trace of flamenco in their sound, and far more of the local Basque flavor. There are many high points: the almost-celtic violin and dual vocal harmonies on "Ezekielen Esnatzea II,” giving way to a splendid sax solo and flute interchange; the children's chorus on the title track; the beautiful female lead voice provided by vocalist Itziar Egileor on "Ezekielen Ikasgaia.” In all, this is an outstanding release, yet one that may not strike you speechless at first listen, revealing its beauty slowly over several repeated listens. My highest recommendation.
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Lonely China Day - This Easily Assimilative People – I wrote about this Chinese band’s previous CD back in #36. On this latest effort, they continue their path moving away from sounds typical of rock bands and further into the esoteric realms of... (2011) » Read more