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ITOIZ

Prog Folk • Spain


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Itoiz picture
Itoiz biography
Founded in Mutriku/Ondarroa, Basque Country, Spain in 1976 - Disbanded in 1988

Another symphonic gem from the Basque region. ITOIZ was formed by Joseba Erkiaga (flute), A. Azkarraga (bass), Estanis Osinalde (drums), J.C. Perez (guitars), and Jose A. Fernandez (Fender Rhodes piano, Grand piano, Hammond organ, Kong Polyphonic ensemble, ARP synthesizer). Their style is a mixture Basque folk, prog-rock and a little jazz. Still, there are (not surprisingly) absolutely no traces of flamenco influences. The music here is quite beautiful (very Italian, in fact) and emphasizes melodic interplay between interactions of wind instruments with keyboards, and guitars. Most of the tracks have male vocals, while the best tracks have some very beautiful female vocals. But they sing in the Basque language. Their early albums are now considered classics. Although they have many albums only "Itoiz" stands out as a real folk-progressive masterpiece. Their pompous arrangements remind GENESIS and CAMEL although ITOIZ also draw from their own folklore.

The eponymous debut-album (1978) from Itoiz is a wonderful blend of folk and symphonic rock, very original with only some hints to CAMEL and early GENESIS. It contains 8 melodic and tasteful crafted compositions. The music ranges from mellow with flute and acoustic guitar to more up-tempo featuring keyboards and fiery electric guitar. The vocals in the Basque language sound very warm. Highlight is the long track "Goizeko Deihadar", running time at about 10 minutes. It opens with tender Fender Rhodes electric piano play, strings and pleasant vocals, to continue with a mid-tempo rhythm, Hammond organ waves, fiery electric guitar runs and some short solos on the ARP synthesizer. In the second part the electric guitar howls like Steve HOWE at his best! The song ends with fluteplay in a mellow atmosphere, very enjoyable music.

Their second LP is in the same vein and as good as the first. Synths were omitted and sax and violin added. "Alkolea" is good too. From their fourth album on ITOIZ were largely a pop band, creating straight catchy melodies. With these later albums they became one of the most successful Basque groups in the eighties. Highly recommended if you are not exclusively into "difficult prog".

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
Fan & official Prog Archives collaborator

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ITOIZ discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ITOIZ top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.82 | 57 ratings
Itoiz
1978
4.11 | 115 ratings
Ezekiel
1980
3.37 | 26 ratings
Alkolea
1982
2.67 | 6 ratings
Musikaz Blai
1983
2.30 | 8 ratings
Espaloían
1985
3.00 | 7 ratings
Ambulance
1987
5.00 | 1 ratings
Juan Carlos Pérez: Itoiz Suite
2009

ITOIZ Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.40 | 6 ratings
Eremuko Dunen Atzetik Dabil
1988

ITOIZ Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ITOIZ Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ITOIZ Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ITOIZ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ezekiel by ITOIZ album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.11 | 115 ratings

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Ezekiel
Itoiz Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Itoiz is a prog folk band from the Basque Region of Spain. This is the folk side of prog folk, yet it has a very strong jazzy flavor with its flutes, fiddles, saxophones, and pianos joining the acoustic guitars, electric bass, drum kit, and, of course, vocals. Try listening to the following YouTube links: 2. "Ezekielen Esnatzea" (6:02); 5. "Ezekielen Ikasgaia" (6:30); 6. "Ezekielen Ametsa + Ezekielen Erantzuna" (6:10), and; 8. "Ezekiel: Ia maitasun kantu bat" (5:51).

1. "Ezekielen Prophezia" (5:10) (8/10)

2. "Ezekielen Esnatzea I" (6:01) Nice electric guitar solo. (8.5/10)

3. "Ezekielen Esnatzea II" (4:37) awesome plaintive pastoral opening with a weave of violin, guitar, keyboard and bass. Multiple voices work their way into the weave for a minute before a solo sax takes the lead and the weave smooths out and a blues-rock rhtyhm foundation takes over. Breathy, fast-flitting flute takes over at 2:45, Wurlitzer organ at 3:30. (9/10)

4. "Ezekiel" (3:01) excellent acoustic guitar picking opens this one until a stop at 0:40 signals the entry of the Etorkizuna Children's choir with support from strumming mandolin and picking guitar. Interesting, though the power and melodies of the choir are not as high until the softening and cheering in the third minute. Still, cool song. (9/10)

5. "Ezekielen Ikasgaia" (6:29) picked acoustic guitar is joined by piano (very well recorded, btw) before laying scant support for the operatic voice of mezzo soprano Itziar Egileor. Nice melodies and song arrangement. At 2:30 there is a radical shift into organ-rock band playing a soulful support to solos from alto sax, flute, and electric piano. At 4:27 we return to the opening section of acoustic guitar to support Itziar--this time without piano! Basss and violin and then drums join in as song gets very expressive, vocal becomes very jazzy with some very cool and unusual scatting. Very classy, polished song. Great sound engineering. (9.75/10)

6. "Ezekielen Ametsa" (1:52) solo acoustic guitar intro for a "little girl" vocal and child-like upper register piano support which then turns into Fender Rhodes rock band song to bleed into the next song. (5/5)

7. "Ezekielen Erantzuna" (4:17) carried over from the previous song, the Fender is strong but a very active rhythm section makes for an interesting contrast to the rather bland male vocal over the top. Acoustic guitar solo in the middle before vocals are doubled up for the second half. Now this is cool! Sax and organ join in for solo coupled with electric piano solo to close. (9/10)

8. "Ezekiel: Ia Maitasun Kanta Bat" (5:49) railroad noises before a violin defines the pace and melody for a bass-heavy folk reel. Violin, flute, and sax performing a wave to support the lead melody before cutting out at 1:02. Strummed guitar supports animated lead vocal from Juan Carlos Pérez. Bass and intermittent drum and cymbal support before flute-sax-violin weave fills the instrumental interludes between vocal verses. Weird electric guitar enters around 3:20, providing metronomic counterpoint to everything else going on. I find it annoying. Luckily, it leaves for the fifth minute. Screaming electric guitar solo starts at 4:40 and persists to the end over the jamming musicians beneath. (9/10)

Total time 37:16

4.5 stars; a wonderful example of Prog Folk coming from the Iberian Peninsula, particularly refreshing for its representation of a very specific regional folk tradition (and language).

 Ezekiel by ITOIZ album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.11 | 115 ratings

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Ezekiel
Itoiz Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Hailing from the Basque region of Spain, Itoiz' second album Ezekiel is, as the name implies, a concept album based on the Biblical stories about the prophet Ezekiel. Significantly, the band sing in the Basque language, taking advantage of the new freedoms Spain was enjoying after the recent fall of the fascist regime which had ruled it from the 1930s to the 1970s - under Franco, the different regions of Spain were discouraged from expressing aspects of local culture which were seen as affirming their differences with other regions of Spain, and the Basque language in particular was frowned on.

Itoiz exploit this opportunity to express their culture to the hilt, fusing Basque folk and progressive rock in a distinctive musical vision. Yet, at the same time, the prog side of the equation tends to let the side down from time to time: a tendency to be stuck in the past and plough furrows already exhausted both by folk prog bands outside Spain and Itoiz' flamenco rock contemporaries make the rock side of this folk-rock balance sound somewhat dated once you get past the novelty of the Basque lyrics.

 Ezekiel by ITOIZ album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.11 | 115 ratings

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Ezekiel
Itoiz Prog Folk

Review by sinslice

4 stars A must for fans of prog-folk.

Good compositions expressed with acoustic and electric guitars sublimely supported by piano, flute, saxophone, violin and keyboards. Interesting collaboration of bass and drums, very rhythmic and protagonists.

I do not understand the Basque language is not familiar to me. But this does not prevent you from enjoying the quality of the material. The voices are those that add the main native touch. It contains a good mix of Italian and English folklore, Spanish featureless, as might be flamenco. No relation to their distant cousins ​​Triana, Veneno or Mezquita, musically speaking.

Haizea, and his work Hontz Gaia is another good option similar but more mysticism than this and more psychedelic.

 Ezekiel by ITOIZ album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.11 | 115 ratings

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Ezekiel
Itoiz Prog Folk

Review by João Paulo

5 stars A beautifull album from this Spanish band of seventies. This band blew the Basque ethnic music with progressive rock. The result of this merger was the realization of a very beautiful album and maybe one of the best of its kind. Who said that the Prog Folk is not pretty and it is boring and dull? Ezekiel is proof that there are many excellent albums in this context. Very harmonious with newly introduced moments in music, which means that the hearing is an adventure. Choirs, guitars and beautiful arrangements make this album one of the most beautiful Prog Folk. A masterpiece for those who like the fusion of ethnic music with rock and recommend a careful hearing I give 5 stars because it's really a masterpiece
 Alkolea by ITOIZ album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.37 | 26 ratings

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Alkolea
Itoiz Prog Folk

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars Itoiz is a band from Basque Country, Spain and they used the dialect of the place, not really Spanish. It's a great mix of Prog Folk, in fact it is REALLY great.

I always say that, and maybe sometimes I sound too boring and repetitive. But I really wished that more bands were using this kind of sound production during the 80's. Some albums weren't that bad, but production usually killed most of them.

Alkolea (1982) is a hell of an album with many interesting bits to make you feel full and content.

There's a 2009 CD edition that you can still find a copy!

 Itoiz by ITOIZ album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.82 | 57 ratings

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Itoiz
Itoiz Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars One of the hottest names of the Basque Prog Folk scene,Itoiz started around mid-70's under the guidance of guitarist/singer Juan Carlos Perez and members coming from the towns of Mutriku and Ondarroa.Initially named as Indar Tapes,the band begun as a dance music group performing in evening festivities and soon developed their own style,mixing rock with Basque Folk.They were renamed to Itoiz (after the valley of the same name in Navarra) and debuted with an eponymous LP in 1978 on the biggest Basque rock label,Xoxoa.

''Itoiz'' blends nicely the softness of Basque Folk music with the adventure of synth-driven Progressive Rock.The tracks are split between two styles: those closer to Basque Folk music with delicate flute work by Joseba Erkiaga,mellow piano parts by keyboardist José Antxon Fernández and the acoustic guitars and dreamy vocals of Juan Carlos Perez and those deep into the progressive rock aesthetics with strong use of moog synths and a fair amount of electric guitars.The later are almost always wrapped in well-crafted symphonic arrangements with a strong sense for harmony and melody,while the vocal lines add often a dramatic touch.Both styles are satisfying for the prog listener with a good balance and enough space for instrumental action.

For those who want to come in touch with this particular progressive rock genre,''Itoiz'' is a great place to start.The album contains good interplays,warm vocals and semi-complex arrangements and comes strongly recommended for both fans of Folk and Symphonic Rock...3.5 stars.

 Ezekiel by ITOIZ album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.11 | 115 ratings

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Ezekiel
Itoiz Prog Folk

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars I have heard about this band for a long time, but this is my first ever foray into their world.

This is their second album and one which is highly regarded in our community. The music is based in folk music, but there is also strong hints of Camel in their music. I reviewed all the the four albums by the Catalan band Herba Hameli last year and they comes across as a good reference. Well, Itoiz is an obvious reference for Herba Hameli although they are based in two different parts of Spain and in different cultures again. Spain is more a federation of nations than a nation or even a country. Itoiz is from the long suffering Basque region in Spain. OK, I am off on a non musical journey here, but I cannot deny I find Spain a fascinating theme and place.

Music wise...... yes, that's what this is about.... I have to remind myself..... music wise, the music here is flute, acoustic guitar (Spanish guitars ?) and Hammond organ based with some good vocals inbetween. The music is very folky sung in the local Basque language. The music is very good. My gripes is the lack of some real killer tracks and some pieces which would make me say "this can only be Itoiz". Hence, I am not of the view that this is an excellent addition to my record collection and it will get a more remote storage, I am afraid. But I would still recommend this album to any folk rock fan. I am not so there we go.

3.25 stars

 Ezekiel by ITOIZ album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.11 | 115 ratings

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Ezekiel
Itoiz Prog Folk

Review by Blackdog

5 stars An outstanding album from the Basque Country. And specially meritorious if we notice that during the early 80's, Spanish music was not at its best: due to the euphoria of having escaped from the censorship that ruled until 1975, Spanish musicians were occupied composing dead easy techno-pop songs, with a notable lack of any melodical or lyrical preoccupation. It was the spirit of the 80's glam but augmented until grotesque limits of childish lyrics and monotony.

In the middle of this totally banal scene, Itoitz release their Ezekiel album. Not everything about it is perfect: if I had had the possibility, I would have chosen another lead singer, as Pérez's voice is somewhat weak, although it has similarities to some italian symphonic singers. On every other aspect the album is nearly flawless. The folky acoustic guitars that get electrified to perform some memorable solos; a sometimes funky-ish and always great-sounding bass; a constant melodic keyboard background; a flute à la Jethro Tull and the notorious jazz influences.

Something obvious when hearing Ezekiel is that, despite being a complex opus with a milimetrically care about instrumentation, it features relatively short and easy-listening songs. In fact, the album is not very long, and it seems to be even shorter because of the fluidity that characterise the compositions.

If I had to describe Ezekiel with just a word, it would undoubtlely be beautiful. In this sense, when I hear Ezekiel, it brings me to my mind that Harmonium's Si On Avait Une Cinquième Saison. The instrumentation is not so unlike in both albums, and they both show a brilliant and, in my opinion, optimistical sound, with a beauty that is impossible to hear in many other albums.

 Alkolea by ITOIZ album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.37 | 26 ratings

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Alkolea
Itoiz Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars In between "Ezekiel" and "Alkolea", it would seem that Itoiz spent too much time listening to Supertramp, and their effort suffers as a consequence. Primarily they adopt Supertramp's dogged insistence on milking a mildly good idea until it is more than spent, and heaping repetitive oh's and ah's and na's on top of it in a vain effort to sound hip. This can be heard in the poor opener but also mars "Ixilik Egon Hadi...Ixiliki!" and ""Herri Neurak", both of which could have been far better without those "embellishments".

The delicate balance of consistently strong material broken, "Alkolea" has a few other significant problems, like the runaway "Hire Bideak" which further acts against any cohesion even if it shows some potential and hot playing. Both "Lanbrora" and "Marilyn" are relatively dull tracks that are the not the equal of anything on "Ezekiel", reminding me at turns of James Taylor or Janis Joplin. The disappearance of female vocals, the harsher and overdone lead guitars, and the general lack of textural quality make "Alkolea" a disappointment.

To be fair, "Errotaberri" and "Eroa Nazan" are both top shelf. Here the melodies and lyricism are sparkling, and seem to blend the best of both of the previous two albums. "Errotaberri" is enhanced by string like keys and here the lead guitars and saxes suit the music much better. The bass and organs on "Eroa Nazan" play to the group's strengths.

While "Ezekiel" seems to sparkle whenever unleashed, "Alkolea" actually sounds like a much less talented and focused sibling, and seems the worse for wear. Without the unbroken string of fine songs working together as one, this is just a very uneven collection. 2.5 stars, rounded down.

 Ezekiel by ITOIZ album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.11 | 115 ratings

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Ezekiel
Itoiz Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator 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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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