Review of 'RESOLUTION' by Carol Banks Webber in examiner.com
Entering Xavi Reija’s “Resolution” is like entering someone else’s active dream state. Long regarded in Spain as a master drummer, Reija makes his international debut pushing post-rock avant jazz into the next century in hypnotic waves by virtue of a subconscious deluge.
He called on fellow Catalan and band mate — he’s in Reija’s XRET band — Bernat Hernández, a multiple-genre, fretless bass specialist, and Serbian blues/rock guitarist Dušan Jevtović to help him flesh out this special dream.
Those who’ve heard of Xavi Reija know he’s one to push every boundary in a restless search for moving sounds that bring some form of the human spirit out of the depths, without much of the heavy-handed ritual that can often accompany avant-garde music. He’s achieved much of his life-long objective on previous discs, DX Project’s 2004 “Two Sides,” Xavi Reija Electric Quintet’s 2006 “Dream Land” and 2008 “Ritual,” and Xavi Reija Electric Trio’s 2010 “Live At Home Murada.”
On “Resolution,” recorded June 8-9, 2013 in Tarragona, Spain, and released on Moonjune Records this year, Reija manages to come very close to the perfect avant-jazz soundtrack.
Reija, Jevtović, and Hernández arranged all 11 of Reija’s apocalyptic songs with a deft, light, and intuitive hand. Every musical choice is right on the mark, and the execution — with just these three to pull off mood, motion, and memory — can’t be beat.
The press makes mention of “muscular polyrhythmic grooves of propulsive drumming,” “elegantly played melodic jazz riffing and subtle volume pedalwork,” and “deft guitar loops” for “texture and ambience to the sonic palette.” All that means is, this album succeeds on every level where others fail.
Reija doesn’t purport to be who he’s not, some fancy, rippling jazzman in another masturbatory poetry reading, trying to appropriate Miles Davis by way of Herbie Hancock. Everyone in this business says they try to play what they feel. This guy does it.
Reija’s trio literally does explore every nuance to every song, until the listener is left feeling completely fulfilled, or drained, down to the soul, as if walking that journey side by side with these tireless tradesmen. Through distinct soundscapes that are strictly theirs, the trio crosses the dimensional plane between music and lyrics, to a pure sensory trip. And you won’t mind a bit.
“Flying To Nowhere” eases the listener through that journey of sound effects and deeper purpose, with the slow build of the guitar laden with promise, then — at the 3:30 mark — firing off quirky changes growing more textural, from classical and ambient to rock. “Macroscope’s” funky bass and drumbeats flex an off-center dance number, as if to prove the chops behind the airy intention, with a killer melody tucked in the gnarled-up shred of the guitarist Jevtović and the billowing rolls of bassist Hernández. The machine gunshot landscape of “Abyss” belies much techno fodder threatening to explode, with little hits of the trio’s polyrhythmic blast. “Resolution” resounds with a clockwork of bass rippling through. “Dreamer” uses intensifying repetition to trance-like effect. “Welcome To The End” hammers home the Armageddon feel of this dreamer’s strange adventure.
Xavi Reija’s “Resolution” creates a dream world where every note holds meaning and feels as if it was meant to be a part of the listener’s experience as well. It’s what post-rock avant jazz is supposed to sound like, when done well. Well done.