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Lisker - Lisker CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.09 | 21 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars If you’re looking for representative Basque prog folk album of the seventies, Lisker’s lone studio release isn’t it. There’s really very little beyond the vocals to suggest this music came from the same region as Txirula, Enbor or Haizea, although there are stretches of the album that bear some resemblance to the mildly psych leanings of Errobi’s seminal work 'Ametsarren Bidea'.

The bulk of the music here is more electric, more fashionably psych, and frankly more conventional than most of the Basque music I’ve heard or have in my own collection. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be a bit misleading for anyone who has their aural appetite set on inflected acoustic guitar or prog keyboards. In fact, there are no keyboards here, but the heavy infusion of flute more than makes up for this gap and provides an innovative alternative.

The original Elkar label vinyl is pretty much impossible to find today, but there are used copies of the nineties CD reissue from Lost Vinyl to be had if you really feel like looking. Despite the band’s relative obscurity, the music has an eerie air of familiarity to it, so much so that every time I hear the opening “Kalean Festa” I could swear it is a cover of something I’ve heard elsewhere. The persistent electric guitar noodling and crisp drums provide a lively tempo which is punctuated skillfully by Jesus Gil’s sharp and precise flute work. This is also easily the most approachable track on the album, although nothing here stretches too far outside the band’s operandi of mildly funky, psych-influenced electric soundscapes with just enough flute to give them a claim to folk legitimacy. On the other end of the spectrum the closing “Garajeko Melodia” and “Eldarniotik Iheska” are heavier, more spaced-out and closer to melodic hard rock than one would expect of a band from this region. The overall sound was fairly dated even when it was released in 1979, with the possible exception of the easygoing and pop- tinged “Bakardade Tristea” midway through the album.

I know very little about this band, and the Basque language liner notes on the CD don’t reveal much beyond what I assume are the lyrics for the tracks that feature vocals. To the best of my knowledge the group never released anything after this record, and are no longer active as near as I can tell.

This isn’t a lost masterpiece despite the hefty prices the original vinyl brings in trading, and I can’t recommend it all that highly since there is nothing here that is either highly innovative or very exceptional. But it makes for a very decent listen, and is a CD that I spin from time to time on a slow day. That pretty much describes as three-star record, which is what I’ll rate it. Mildly recommended to fans of obscure late seventies music that shows the awkward transition from the eclectic musical environment of the seventies to the more commercial and less adventurous eighties. Pick it up if you come across it, but don’t go out of your way.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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