Previously a quintet featuring keyboards and sax, now a trio, Xavi Reija’s band does things a drums/bass/guitar line up should not be able to, creating splendidly intuitive avant jazz rock suites that do not suffer the loss of those aforementioned instruments in the slightest. Dusan Jevtovic, a guitarist of some repute, made his name with last year’s Am I Walking Wrong? album, where he was joined on the bass by Bernat Hernández and those two are present and correct on Resolution.
Opening track Flying To Nowhere startsquietly enough, slowly building layers of tension upon Dusan Jevtovic’s simple repetitive guitar figure, until the instrument lets loose shards of the dirtiest fuzzed up snarl imaginable. The drums really introduce themselves on Macroscope, high up in the mix but unfussy, backed by Bernat Hernández’ funky bass line with Dusan growling away in the background. Eventually the drums and bass stop and Dusan gives us another helping of his distortion and feedback in place of a solo as such. Resolved on the back of some dextrous and charging rhythms from Xavi, the tune speeds over the finishing line in the manner of a record-setting middle distance runner; fantastic stuff!
The drums are superbly recorded, it sounds like there were microphones placed just about everywhere; but then, this is a drummer’s album, so one would expect no less. On some tracks the drum kit becomes the lead instrument, a case in point being the joyously careening Unfinished Love. Play this on a decent hi-fi, or through high quality headphones, and it is as if the drummer is sat there right in front of you, his hands and arms dancing around his kit in perfect harmony with other two musicians, creating a forcefully skipping beat.
Improvised and innovative, Dusan coaxes the noise of tortured souls out of his guitar, dissonance and effect-laden howls a-wailing. Xavi stops the cacophony becoming pure whiteout on Dreamer with some nailed-on rhythms as the tune is flung out of orbit. Bernat’s bass then homes in on a Can-like groove with Xavi, the rhythm insistent. This beast will not be denied.
Xavi does not get to dominate all the time, and in any event Dusan and Bernat would not let that happen, being both possessed of strong musical character. A break in the full-on assault comes with The Land Of The Sirenians, a tune in an almost traditional jazz trio mould, but crackling with electricity nonetheless. The lovely tom-tom led tune Unfinished Love follows, for me the album highlight.
Bernat’s funky chops get stretched out with wah wah on the tight but loose John’s Song, and not long after this is the longest excursion on the record, the quite enthralling Gravity. A laid back groove is established by Dusan, the baton is next taken up by Bernat, with the percussion fleet of foot and as light as can be. The three players interlock, fly apart and come together again, but in a restrained manner. Bernat’s bass solo within the tune is a delight, and the whole thing is an exercise in restrained power hanging on Xavi’s repetitive bass drum beat.
My only criticism is that there are instances where maybe a touch of editing would not have gone amiss. I contend that any album over an hour long has to be really special to justify such length. However, in this case it is but a minor gripe, for this remains an album that anyone familiar with Moonjune’s ever growing and highly talented stable of progressive jazz rock trios should fall for big time, as would anyone with a love of exploratory music.
01. Flying To Nowhere (7:38)
02. Macroscope (5:57)
03. Shadow Dance (5:22)
04. Dreamer (9:54)
05. Abyss (4:28)
06. The Land Of Sirenians (4:55)
07. Unfinished Love (4:44)
08. John’s Song (6:24)
09. Resolution (7:00)
10. Gravity (11:39)
11. Welcome To The End (8:52)
Total Time – 77:11
Xavi Reija – Drums
Dusan Jevtovic – Guitar
Bernat Hernández – Bass
Record Label: Moonjune Records
Year Of Release: 2014
Band Information: MoonJune Records
Social Media: Xavi Reija Facebook
Audio: MoonJune Records Bandcamp