Monday, 14 May 2018

William S. Fischer "Akelarre Sorta" 1972 recorded in The Spain Basque Country US Psych Funk,Jazz Fusion,Jazz Funk


William S. Fischer  "Akelarre Sorta" 1972  very rare lp recorded in The Spain Basque Country US Psych Funk,Jazz Fusion,Jazz Funk
full vk

Soul funk artillery and laid back psych funk with hammond, flutes and superb arrangements! Atlantic musical director landed in basque country and made this terrific album with hammond funk interpretations of basque folk songs all about witchcraft and akellares. Incredibly rare, incredible sounds, far out album!..~
Here’s one of spanish library-psych-funk-breaks rarities! American born musician William S. Fischer recorded this album in Spain’s Basque Country with unknown studio musicians. All tracks are ancient basque popular songs with a satanist-devilish-black magic-druids vibe played in a “psychedelic” style, as the liner notes from the back cover says, featuring amazing open drum breaks, flute, groovy organ and killer dirty fuzz guitar all over. Lots of drum breaks, bass lines and grooves waiting to be sampled. Terrific psychedelic rare groove on “Bat bi hiru lau”, featuring insane fuzz, psych effects and breakbeat drums!!! …~


Satanologysts, wizardologysts, specialists in various types of palingenesis, famed talmudists and other studious of witchery agree to the importance of music in the old akelarres. Having been burnt some of our witches by the roman Inquisition, the others seeked for shelter in their subterranean homes. 
A fantastic world was formed then. Basque witches and sorcerers prosecuted by Pierre de Lancre, alied with an old jewish gnome -who claimed to be a cousin of Spinoza- did invoke the underground spirits of black fugitive slaves who escaped from the razzias that our European ancestors, in the name of civilization, took to Africa. (from Sorta’s original liner notes) 
Weird and obscure as they come… in 1972 arranger William S. Fischer lands in the basque country and produces some funky reinterprations of popular basque folklore songs and dances, all around the theme of witchery and covens (Akelarre). As crazy and weird as it may sound, this record is virtually unheard of in collector’s circles. 
How the musical director for Atlantic Records and arranger for Wilson Pickett, Roberta Flack, Eugene McDaniels, Les McCann , Herbie Mann and countless others got involved with this project is up to everyone’s guess. However what he comes up with is really astounding, a funky as hell workout which will get you screaming for more. Killer go go psychedelic soul which defies categorisation: tight rhythm section, open drum breaks, funky as hell guitar leads, groovy flute, weird electronic sound effects and moog bits (most likely courtesy of Walter E. Sear, who gets a mention in the original liners) alternate with more stylish moments (think Terry Callier or blaxpotation soundtracks of the era like Marvin Gaye’s Troubleman) and even some fusion styled groovers. 

Fans of his funky jazz rock cum electronics masterpiece “Circles” (released by Embryo in 1970 and feaured on Mojo’s “50 Most Out There Albums of All Time” list) won’t be deceived, for he shows here the same masterful sense of groove and orchestration but in a more danceable, not so avant-garde context. An unknown record that deserves to be brought back to life in this limited reissue of 500 (five-hundred) copies. Get it now or cry later… (Wah Wah records)….~


William S. Fischer was born in the Mississippi delta in 1935. Pianist, worked for Herbie Mann and Wilson Pickett, and his avant-fusion Circles (1970) is highly valued today. 
It is not at all clear that it took him to kick the Basque girls in the early seventies, although it is easy to understand his infatuation, to the point of marking a tribute as only he knew: forming a local band and paying tribute to their traditional melodies by wearing them of funk, wah wah, moog. Others contradict that it was the label Herri Gogoa who traveled to New York to hire the services of the African-American. 
In any case, there they all are: Gurea Da (It’s ours), Euskaldunak Gara (We’re Basques), Pello Joxepe … The album that could have put Euskal Herria halfway to move the skeleton ended, obviously, in the drawer of the rarities, although he enjoyed a reissue, with more consistent cover, in 1973, and another of about 500 copies in 2005.
It also did not seem like a project with continuity views, although the sleeve notes of the original, whose author remains anonymous, give to inspire an entire career … ~


“Satanologists, sorcerers, specialists in various forms of palingenesis, talmudists of fame, and other scholars in Sorgiñología, agree to affirm the identity between environment and music in the old akelarres. Burned some of our witches by the Roman Inquisition, the others took refuge in their underground dwellings. 

A fantastic world was formed then. Sorgiñas and Basque sorcerers persecuted by the hisopazos of Pierre de Lancre, allied with a Jewish gnome travel-which was said to be a cousin of Spinoza-contacted the subterranean spirits of some blacks, cimarrones escaped from the brutal raids that our European ancestors, on behalf of of civilization, performed in Africa.
From time to time, thanks to magical formulas and ointments, they surfaced … 
A happy conjunction of subterranean efforts caused the fall of the Bastille … And of the old Aviraneta, it was said that he was mixed in suspicious practices. 
Chaho himself was seen, several times, at night, with a black kapusai, a sack, a squadron and a map of the world, in a gorge near Itxasu, where there was a very favorable tectonic fault, trying to make contact with the crypto-sorgiñes … Three phosphorescent owl-shaped figures preceded him … and a learned fundamentalist author seriously affirms that from that strange coyunda the satanic pact that led to the creation of a particularly evil carbon sect to which Garibaldi, Rawachol, the Sorcerer of Bargota and a mysterious Russian with a beard and bowler hat. 
For something the reaction spoke of contubernios and hidden forces! 
Today we have no doubt that psychedelic music is extremely propitious to the old goblins and that … 
Well, listen to the disc. And please, do not charge any possible defects in our account. At the last minute, poor Maria Zozaya, Basque witch burned in the eighteenth century, but redivizes the year 1968 thanks to the latest palingenésicas techniques of Mr. Lovecraft enimschol-kai-takos … -and we do not say any more in case someone comes up resuscitate General Espartero-, escaped, abandoning the project, before the news, certainly chilling, that reached his underground dwelling on a certain local critic, we do not know if San Sebastian or San Sebastian. And it is that, with palingenesia or without it, also the witches reach menopause. 
Please excuse us. ”……~


This here is an oddity; American arranger and film score composer William S. Fischer had travelled to the Basque Country in Spain, and decided to record funky versions of their traditional songs. The name of the record couldn’t be other than “Akelarre”, which might be the only Basque loanword in the English language. The word itself comes from the words “aker”, “he-goat”, and “larre”, “meadow”, but is more accurately translated as “Witches’ Sabbath”, the place where they were supposed to perform their dark rituals, guided by Satan in the guise of a black he-goat. 

Despite having such an occult title, Akelarre itself is quite lightweight. All the tracks are completely instrumental, and they have the base melodies taken from the Basque musicality, and those are usually done with the flute. The other most prominent instrument is the electric guitar, which is often very screechy, to the point where I don’t know whether it’s playing distorted folk lines, or adding new ones. Not that it matters, it is the strongest point of the record! Completing the line-up, there is a jazzy/funky rhythm section of bass and drums, nothing out of the ordinary, and some electric effects. 

Now, the flaw of this approach is that, most of the time, it is too mellow to have the strength funk demands. The flutes are played in a very… “softspoken” way, that lacks the acuteness that I so love in this instrument. This problem is particularly notable in the stretch from the third to the fifth track, in which the album slogs in flimsy jazzy wallpaper. The sixth track, “Eguntto Batez”, my favourite, comes to the rescue then, and it’s almost shocking how fierce it is, specially by the halfway mark where the guitars start raging in a solo clearly inspired by Eddie Hazel! The rest of the album sits in between these two extremes, and to be fair, not even at the lowest point this is as annoying as some jazz I’ve found. The ninth track, “Xarmangarria”, is also a highlight. 

The basic Basque melodies themselves are also beautiful, and the more I listen, the more I notice the traditional backbone that holds this album. I’d say this particular factor makes Akelarre a “grower”, and not as much an obvious jazz-fusion as it would have seemed. However, and this might be more of my flaw as a listener, I can’t help but feel the lack of vocals really hampers this album, and make it much less interesting than it could have been. A coarse voice singing or even chanting something in Basque would do wonders to make even the most uneventful parts more interesting! It might even bring some of the promised witchcraft to this otherwise nice album…..by….FrancelinoAzevedo ….~


Tracklist
A1 Bat Bi Hiru Lau
A2 Gurea Da
A3 Etatiro Etatiro
A4 Pello Joxepe
A5 Euskaldunak Gara
B1 Eguntto Batez
B2 Ruten Ari Nuzu
B3 Ene Izar Maitea
B4 Xarmangarria
B5 Txori Erresiñula
Discography

Circles (Embryo, 1970)
Akelarre Sorta (1972)
Omen (Arcana, 1972) 

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