We are immersed in an age of re-releases and the pursuit of rarities, hidden gems
and marvels. Record labels are constantly rediscovering musical jewels, which
previously only collectors have had the chance to own. "Batiscafo" by Gregorio
Paniagua is one of these elusive treasures. First released in 1980 on the label
Hispavox, the album disappeared after a short run and no further editions in any
format have been available until now, in spite of the huge level of interest shown by
fans to get their hands on a vinyl record in mint condition of this outstanding musical
oddity made in Spain.
Paniagua is a classically trained musician and scholar of music with an extensive and
fruitful history of researching, recording and rediscovering ancient music, varying
from Las Cantigas de Santa Mar a del Rey Alfonso X El Sabio (which earned him a
gold record in Japan), to Andalus music from Spain's past or compositions from
Ancient Greece, as well as playing with the vocal and instrumental ensemble Atrium
Musicae, which toured across the world to great critical acclaim.
In 1980, Gregorio Paniagua embarked on a solo project, moving from the Classical
to the Pop Department at Hispavox. He shut himself off from the world every night
for a whole month to record "Batiscafo". Assisted solely by a sound technician at
the controls of the latest mixing desk, his instruments and brilliant inventiveness, he
managed to create this gem: a record that seeks to emulate Mike Oldfield's Tubular
Bells and which vanished all too soon, becoming the Holy Grail of Spanish
experimental music. "Batiscafo" anticipated a wave of avant-garde Spanish music in
the 80s with key figures such as Suso S iz, Pep Llopis, Ishinoana or Finis Africae who
are now being rediscovered and admired outside Spain. It is a highly original and
imaginative record that continues to surprise listeners forty years on, with its bold
combination of early electronic music, classicism, experimentation and psychedelia.
It's a masterpiece that endures the test of time.