Haizea – Hontz Gaua. 1979 Spain (Basque)

Haizea – Hontz Gaua. 1979 Xoxoa

CD reissue: 1994 Elkar / Lost Vinyl

LP reissue: 2004 Guerssen

Packaging details. The original is a gatefold, and has always been super rare. Released exclusively in the Basque country of Spain, the album had very limited distribution. I bought the CD when it came out, and that was my first exposure to the album. It's a joint release from Basque specialist label Elkar with the progressive leaning Lost Vinyl label of Valencia. The LP reissue is an exact replica of the original, though I don't own it myself. Since the CD is pretty plain and lacking any kind of detail, and the cover is quite striking, this would be an excellent candidate for a Japanese mini-LP. Worth noting that the CD has a purple night sky rather than the dark blue as found on the LP (the photo above is the original LP cover).

Notes: Picking up where the debut leaves off, 'Anderea' is a pleasant bit of Basque folk with female vocals. And then the wheels come off  - and we enter the realm that ashratom cares about - on 'Egunaren Hastapena', a dark acoustic piece with cello, recorder, chimes, acoustic guitar, and flute that I swear recalls some of the Scandinavian psychedelic acts such as International Harvester and Algarnas Tradgard. This track finishes in Gotic (a Catalan progressive rock band) mode with happy flute and a full rhythm section. 'Argizagi Ederra' opens with haunting female vocals and what sounds like a didgeridoo, and when the psychedelic guitar enters in, we are once again reminded of Algarnas Tradgard. Who and what were these guys tuned into? No way they could have known these Swedish albums - right? 'Arnaki' continues with flute and electric guitar in an instrumental psychedelic space rock setting.

And we haven't even hit the album's most transcendental piece - the two part title track that encompasses all of Side 2. Starting with male monk like chants, you already know this is going to descend into the deepest recesses of your mind. Acoustic guitar, cello, flute, chimes, wordless female voices, and hand percussion fill out part one 'Hegoa Heldu Da', and then it goes deeper down the well on the second part 'Maritxiki Korupeko', where they subsequently turn on the electricity. And the female voices become more haunting. And then... well... discover for yourself I'd suggest.

This is a special work and entirely unique amongst all the albums coming from the Basque country.

1 comment:

  1. Everyone is always going on about flamenco prog and there are some great albums in that genre, but for me this is easily the best from Spain, along with Errobi's Ametsaren Bidea. Ever since I first heard this album I've been looking for more in the same vein, but to no avail. As you say, it is unique.

    Cheers, Bas

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