Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Lisker “Lisker” 1979 Spain Basque Psych Prog Folk Rock


Lisker “Lisker” 1979 Spain ultra rare  Basque Psych Prog Folk Rock
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This quintet is perhaps one of the least “ethnic” sounding of Basque bands. We could describe their music as DE DE LIND-style hard rock offset by some delicate flute play. Not much is known about the members of LISKER except for their sole legacy, a short (barely 35-minute) LP entitled “Lisker” released in 1979. 

The album has a rather open, spacey sound that should appeal to psychedelic and space-rock fans. The bright and melodic flute play is the true delight, here, contrasting with the rougher, bluesy guitar riffs while a muscular rhythm section tackles both even and odd-time signatures. You’ll hear a couple of vocal ballads too (sung in Basque), but the crux of the album is basically a collection of hard-driving solos and some aggressive fuzzy guitar trading riffs with the flute - not at all similar to JETHRO TULL, by the way. 
Fans of space rock and good old hard rock such as DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH or URIAH HEEP should enjoy them….~



Of all the Basque “folk” groups, Lisker might be the one least Basque folk (bar the hard rocking Sakre), but it is certainly not the least interesting, on the contrary. While their folk roots can still be heard (at times), it is clear that Lisker preferred a good hard-rocking psych rock, powered by a fuzz guitar and a gorgeous flute. This double guitar and flute quintet recorded a sole eponymous album in 79, released on the second Basque label Xoxoa and sporting an intriguing old window artwork. The quintet is build around Ernesto Gomez (ac guitar and vocals), and develop a mainly instrumental high energy prog filled with enthralling solos and good interplay, which can be anachronistic given that it comes a decade late 
Obvious comparisons to early Jethro Tull are correct, but one might want to think also of De De Lind in the heavier moments. Actually the crystal-clear and crisp flute answers brilliantly to the over-powering fuzz bluesy guitar. While often rocking hard, the album knows how to respect a truce: the lovely acoustic arpeggios of Ametz Jazarriak are a pure joy, and the build up is very impressive. This is easily the opening side’s highlight, but the other two tracks are both excellent. Indeed Bakardade Tristea starts on acoustic arpeggios and a flute (worthy of Genesis’ Tresspass), before the group enters and Gomez’s singing, fitting well the group’s psych feel but not really meaningful lyric-wise, and Alberdi’s soaring guitar send the track on orbit into your mind. The flipside has only two tracks, the heavy-riffing Garajeko Melodia, which develops is a wild jam (some lengths are observed, but nothing worth recriminating about), and the even lengthier finale which holds some excellent interplay, but is also slightly demonstrative, but again nothing to be worried about: this is more suited to the early 70’s than the early 80’s. 

Only two of the five lengthy (minimum 5:30) tracks are sung (in Basque), but the music remains quite accessible with a healthy rock feel and plenty of prog tricks, including frequent tempo changes and great interplay. Don’t get me wrong, this is more psychedelic prog than symphonic prog (or folk prog, except for some intros), but this rocks hard, is not indulgent: even the drum solo (yes, in 79!!!) is kept very short (I suppose that the Franco-repressed Basques at least had to resort once to a drum solo ;-) and all musicians are quite competent. Quite pleasant an album, Lisker sole effort can be safely investigated for the progheads preferring spontaneity over careful planning and too precise/cold calculations….by Sean Trane …~


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…. by ClemofNazareth ….~


A rather simplistic, primarily instrumental, album filled with fuzz guitar and flute, nice melodies, and a healthy amount of energy. From the above statement, two items are worth calling out: 1) The melodies are well thought-out, and are memorable long after the music has stopped. And 2) the guitar tone is decidedly psychedelic, which is quite the rarity for a 1979 recording. Lisker probably tracks closest to the French band Triode. And the melodic quotient could make one state that Lisker is to the Basque Country what Gotic is to Catalonia. Plus the psychedelic influences of course. Good album….by…ashratom …..~


Euro release. Taken from the original masters. Hard-psychedelic masterpiece from 1979. Great fuzz-guitar and flute reminding of Jethro Tull. Highly rated among collectors…..~












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