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Itoiz - Ezekiel CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.11 | 116 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
5 stars While Itoiz' debut was an instantly likable major folk effort with a concentrated minor in symphonic progressive, their sophomore offering is far more eclectic and much harder to penetrate. In addition to a cornucopia of instruments such as electric and acoustic piano and guitar, flutes, organs, violins, and saxophones, and the reappearance of superb voices of both genders, the album's sprawling canvas incorporates several new styles for the group, particular jazzy elements. You could be excused for doubting this kitchen sink approach, because very few bands could pull this off with the skill and vision demonstrated herein. Your upfront investment will be rewarded manifold.

The general pattern of many of the tracks, such as the first three, is a song orientation followed by extensive instrumental excursions featuring the group's full arsenal, and providing for continued discovery over the course of many airings. Of particular note are the rich saxes and organ in "Ezekielen esnatzea II". The pent-up energy that had been withheld during the Franco years remained fully operative throughout this sophomore album. The approach is continued on "Ezekielen ikasgaia" where electric piano substitutes for organ, except the vocals are feminine and at times acrobatic in their versatility. Many folk orientations remain, generally paired with massed or individual children's voices, such as on the title cut and "Ezekielen ametsa". This apparent innocence is egged on by divine flutes even as it is belied by the accessible complexity of the compositions and arrangements.

If I had to choose a favourite, it would probably be the penultimate cut "Ezekielen erantzuna", which casts a sly eye back to the first album without sacrificing the newly found maturity. In addition, it boasts some stunning acoustic guitar work. The backing keyboards are hypnotic, and what sounds like violin sets just a slightly Eastern European - or is it Arabic - mood. This is wisely carried over to the closer, which is highlighted by some stellar lead guitar work.

This is a uniformly consistent album and perhaps the masterpiece of the Basque progressive folk movement. It is a sequence of songs that propose and deliver an indivisible unit, which is nirvana for most progressive fans. My highest and unflinching recommendation.

kenethlevine | 5/5 |


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