Sunday, 3 July 2016

Isla from Gerardo Bátiz (1981); plus bonus Arlequin (1982)

The discussion today is about the amazing Mexican composer Gerard Bátiz.  I would be only too pleased to learn many out there have no idea who this is or what his music sounds like.

This record as well as the subsequent Arlequin are pretty much masterpieces of the progressive chamber fusion style, very much like the Sabates material I posted back long ago.  But better.
It's mind-boggling to me how artists can create such beautiful things out of notes and chords we all know but in ways that so stunningly new and original that not even one combination has been heard before anywhere...

Here's the most modernly dissonant 20th-century Stravinskyesque track, and I really love it; it's called Equis:

A more typical latin-fusion plus progressive chamber elements track would be the last, with a very ungainly title, Que Locos estamos, etc.:

Check the wonderful recommendation from Tom regarding his next album Arlequinfrom cd reissue:

Gerardo Batiz - Arlequin. 1982 private.
Very nice, mellow, electric progressive rock album. The wordless female vocals, approaching Zeuhl at times, defines this mature work. Piano and bass drive the music forward, and the contents are highly melodic. At times I'm reminded of some of the "lite Zeuhl" bands coming out of France in the 1980s like Foehn or Musique Noise. I even hear some Joe Jackson, and that's meant as a compliment. For me, it's better than all the aforementioned bands, and comes recommended. Very obscure release.
Priority: 3

Here's the track I think he was referring to with the famed modifier zeuhl, which is actually most similar to the old Aksak Maboul RIO style of composed, classical chamber music (called Para las cebollas ...una historia inconclusa):

In fact I suspect this was written as an exercise in composition at the Mexican conservatory or University where he learned this astonishing craft-- given the similarity to 20th century opera, e.g., Richard Strauss.

I guess that for me, this music just hits the sweet spot so perfectly.  I grew up as a child with classical music thanks to my father but quickly got bored with what seemed simplicity in the predictable sounds of Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven.  So I became attracted to the more complex music of Bartok and Stravinsky, but in my teen years when I discovered Mingus and Miles and fusion I realized composers had taken that complexity and as it were breathed into it the warmth and soul of jazz to make it come alive.  But for many years I was waylaid by peer pressure and rock and pop, even heavy metal, before finally I discovered progressive rock and saw how everything I loved had been collected together already into this beautiful hybrid art, as if in a distillation of all of humanity's artistic skills and emotion in one. The only tragic aspect-- at least to me, not to others I recognize-- is that this perfect hybrid had been perfected 30-45 years ago, and therefore was a limited resource.
But there was so much of it made!!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Can you re-up these, please? Both files appear as "expired" already...

    1. yeah that's the problem with coming back from vacation....

  3. Bátiz Isla:

    Bátiz Arlequin:

    The remainder of his discography to come soon! Stay tuned for those

    rarities-- expensive ones, this time

  4. BONUS FLAC ISLA (I don't have lossless for the other one):

  5. hi Julian, thanks for this delicate Isla album, a very nice one!!!

  6. Amazing offerings - Any chance you can post Cristal? Been searching high and low for that one! Thanks for the shares :)

    1. would you believe I never heard of that one? that's why these comments are so helpful sometimes... so the hunt is on for that one...

  7. Cristal (1980 Mex)

  8. I cannot believe that I've only just discovered the wealth of riches you offer: there are so many musicians I hadn't heard of, let alone heard.

    All I can offer are my heartfelt thanks ... and admiration.