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Haizea - Hontz Gaua CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.97 | 50 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars With co-founder and co-lead vocalist Txomin Artola departed, Haizea recruited Xabier Iriondo to assume flute and guitar duties, leaving Amaia as the principal voice of HAIZEA. The two years since their psych tinged folk debut were clearly spent listening to a few of their Basque compatriots, among them the influential and later commercially successful ITOIZ, as well as the woodwind and guitar led fusions of MAGDALENA and LISKER. In particular, "Arnaki" largely improves upon the better offerings of those bands, a frothy jam that offsets the tranquility of the other tracks, which nonetheless easily eclipse virtually everything on the prior album. It also sounds like they fell asleep listening to both CLANNAD and ALAN STIVELL simultaneously, and played "Argizagi Ederra" upon awakening!

"Hontz Gaua" scores higher in just about every category imaginable, but chiefly in their abandonment of the earnest folk schtick in favour of much less predictable prog folk, embellished by acoustic and even traditional instrumentation. This organic shift is most pronounced on "Egunarn Hastapena" and the 14 minute title track, which translates to "Owl Night". Officially bifurcated, the epic appears to include at least 4 elegant movements that bow to each other, from a cappella to pastoral flute and guitar duet to free (ish) form nature sounds to haunting ballad. The end result is a delicate yet robust ode to the living night, and the closest HAIZEA would come to divulging their unique voice. Highly recommended.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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