Alex Wiska was a German guy who got obsessed with Turkish music around 1970 and actually got several members of Can (it seems) to assist him with some solo releases under the name “Alex.” Later on he reconfigured his spiel as Alex Oriental Experience, which released a bunch of albums in the 1980s and 1990s on his own label, fittingly called Wiska Records.
A native of Cologne, Wiska had a band in the mid-1960s called “Famous Four und Playboys,” which was most likely an unmemorable garage rock band of some sort. He studied at the Cologne Conservatory for two semesters and in 1970 after extensive travels eventually made his way to Turkey, where he became a guitarist with Cem Karaca‘s band. A versatile musician, Alex became proficient at the saz (a Turkish varation on the guitar), which eventually became his signature instrument.
Wiska returned to Germany, where he teamed up with at least two members of Can, Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit, although some sources assert that Irmin Schmidt and Michael Karoli were also involved. In any case, Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit produced his first album, which was simply called Alex, in 1973. Two years later Liebezeit produced the follow-up, which had the wonderful title That’s the Deal. Alex’s albums didn’t have much in the way of musician credits, but it seems highly probable that Liebezeit contributed his distinctive drum style to some tracks, at a minimum.
On the back of Alex’s first album one finds the following testimonial from German electronic music expert Winfrid Trenkler:
Alex is not really a Turk. However, his strangely exotic sounding “Türk-Rock” does not lack a certain authencity based on experience of many years in Turkey. Alex is a heavyweight Rock athlete originating from Cologne. His speciality: all kinds of stringed instruments from E-guitar to the Turkish Baglama. He is achieving real master music on this bulky, three-stringed instrument. The baglama gives to his music a particularly colorful sound, a mixture of Rock, Country & Western and Turkish music, which is, says ALEX, the best of them all.
Alex, “Patella Black”:
More Alex after the jump…