The Sound Of The Earth
(2018 - Moonjune Records - USA)
A hurricane of a release by an extraordinary drummer from Catalan (Xavi was born in Barcelona, Spain) who some may recall from the 2016 released XaDu 'Random Abstract' album, and previous solo 'Resolution' (2016) also on Moonjune Records. One look at the players on 'The Sound of the Earth' (2018) and any fusion fan and/or progressive rock devotee, will jump for joy. Xavi Reija - drums/Tony Levin - bass guitar, upright bass, stick/Markus Reuter - touch guitar/ and Dusan Jevtovic - guitar, bring a quartet formation to full tilt. Xavi has worked in groups of 2, 3, 4, 5, plus, and knows the freedom of having one musician keep a foundation, while the other (s) are allowed to float and dance around that stone. Reija has involved experience with multiple artists (he has worked with Steve Hogarth, Demian Band, Chez Luna, plus many more, and started his own quintet before the years with Moonjune Records).
A snake charmer's set of compositions, keeping some heavy handed, sometimes furious, margins of Crimson world 'Red/Larks' Tongues in Aspic', blended with spaced out explorations, and fusion with the power and the glory of what only this quartet could produce. Including a perfect balance of extended cuts and average length compositions, the song writing is divided between Reija (1,5,7), Jevtovic (3,9), and the group as a whole (2,4,6,8). So the beautiful flow and outcome is not only full of regard, but rich in quality. Who could expect anything less? Important contributors include co-producer Leonardo Pavkovic (the one man superhero and owner of Moonjune Records). Mastered by Alvaro Balana, mixed by Jesus Rovira, and recorded by Paul Antonell.
Some of the longer tracks feel like a jam, but only by elite professionals, who can make an improv seem effortless. Parts have a prescribed 1970's jazz rock feel, and I hear snippets of Quiet Sun, and Phil Manzanera's more unconventional work. Moments often have the girth of Richard Pinhas' solo work, and 'From Darkness' (track 3) has an avalanche like something from 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic' full blown. The album is not without a funky jazz fusion number (dominate on his early quintet recordings), the title track 'part 2' (track 4), which is a different look at track 2 ('The Sound of the Earth' - part 1). Part 2 sounds like a developed Stick Men number. A totally instrumental and sharp, brilliant, brave, emotional, and singular set of pieces to put a mark on the musical map, hands down. A resounding applause and HIGH RECOMMENDATION.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 1 - 20 - 2019