May 10, 2007

Young, Gifted and Basque

Basque.jpgFor the last 25 years, the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV) has been the dominant political force in the Basque regions of northern Spain. As part of their cultural policies, they have consistently promoted traditional music as an unquestioned cornerstone of Basque identity. The result has been a stultifying lack of self-criticism that has effectively sidelined those with more radical musical agendas. It’s a situation that Arto Artian is looking to change..

Formed late last year, this net label, which was featured in a recent profile of the Basque avant-music scene in The Wire, mainly focuses on experimental artists; but there are occasional forays into styles like electro and industrial. To give you a taste of their output, here are three very different acts who are featured on it:

Oier Exteberria (mp3) – from Ondamedia (Basque for “catastrophe”), a soundtrack designed to accompany a series of postcards parodying iconic Basque images. The music itself is a Otomo Yoshohide style collage of traditional Basque tunes underscored with a recording of doctors performing an autopsy. In the course of it, they remark: “It seems dead but sometimes it seems to reanimate.”

Joseba Irazoki (mp3) – a guitarist who specialises in processed pastoral post-rock. This is from his album, Tokian tokiko.

Gutariko Bat (mp3) – the Basque Fugazi; this track is from a compilation of their recordings from the mid 90’s.

Posted by Warren at May 10, 2007 01:09 AM | Experimental | World