Exposé Online banner

Itoiz — Itoiz
(Elkar KD-790, 1978/2009, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 1994-08-01

Itoiz Cover art

While the Basque country is politically part of Spain, Itoiz gives plenty of reason to count it as a separate entity. There is an influence in this music that is definitely indigenous to this small area in Northern Spain, which makes Itoiz all the more interesting to a connoisseur in unusual symphonic musics. There are quite a few Basque progressive rock groups that have not been discovered until recently. Itoiz are probably the most relatively well known of these, but others such as Enbor, Koska, and Sakre have received a small but growing reputation among the insane progressive rock collectors that don't think twice when shelling out many hundreds of dollars for just one of these albums. Itoiz may be the first Basque progressive rock group to make it to CD that sings in the Basque language, a language that is much closer in sound (not linguistically) to Arabic than a Romance language such as Spanish. To me, this is the reason why European symphonic progressive can be so collectable – Itoiz seem to draw from a completely different folk culture, especially due to the fact that the Basque language is so different from Spanish. Musically, the Basque influence seems to have as much in common to the French scene (especially the Nice scene, shades of Carpe Diem and Shylock here) and Portuguese progressive (very similar to Tantra in many ways) as it does to the Spanish scene.

The overall concoction ends up being quite unique and extremely seducing. Similar Spanish groups like Gotic, Ibio, Coto-en-Pel, or Granada give some indication to the Itoiz sound in that those groups have a breezier and mellower symphonic sound than bands like Triana, Cai or Iman. Itoiz' indigenous folk sound is much stronger than any of these bands, in fact they were to continue in a more folkier direction on their third album Alkorea that unfortunately evaded reissue here. This gives the symphonic sound a much more fragile base than would be expected. Except for the out and out folk sound of the third and fourth tracks (the latter sounding exactly like a Basque John Denver), the music is top quality symphonic progressive with a laid back powerful sound topping a very magical atmosphere.

Personally I couldn't recommend this enough, it should be lapped up by any into the Spanish, Italian or French scenes or at the limit, those who like the English acid folk scene like Dando Shaft, Mellow Candle, or The Trees. Highly recommended and essential to the symphonic collector.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 4, 2009 releases, 1978 recordings

Related artist(s): Itoiz

Latest news

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
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

2019-03-25
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


Previously in Exposé...

Ash Ra Tempel - Le Berceau de Cristal – Remember Tangerine Dream's Green Desert? Many a time have I discussed its legitimacy as a long lost album with people. Hailing from 1985, yet claiming to be from 1973, it just didn't seem to...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues