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Xavi Reija

The Sound of the Earth

Review by Gary Hill

While this is released under Xavi Reija's name, the full lineup here is full of exceptional musicians. Reija handles the drums while Tony Levin delivers bass, standup bass and Stick. Markus Reuter plays touch guitar. Dusan Jevtovic provides the electric guitar. The music here is instrumental, experimental and very cool. It has boundaries and edges that include stoner metal, space rock, fusion and more.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Deep Ocean
They waste no time, powering this in like some kind of stoner metal. It moves forward in style from there. Before the one minute mark it shifts to something that makes me think of some of the jams I've heard the early Black Sabbath do. It gets kind of spacey and psychedelic, but still maintains that cool early metal edge. By around the two and a half minute mark this twists to sort of a freeform fusion texture. The bass solos as the guitar maintains that metal sound with some seriously heavy and fuzz drenched chords. The fusion elements start to take command as it wanders forward from there with some psychedelic textures. This gets seriously intense as it drives forward. There is a false ending around the five and a half minute mark. It powers back up with the stoner metal textures after that. Some jamming that merges the fusion and the metal eventually takes the track to its end. Textural atmospherics are on display on this number.
The Sound of the Earth I
Coming in atmospheric, this grows very gradually. It has a lot of fusion along with space music, jam band elements and more at its heart. It's a cool cut that really has an intriguing groove to it. As it builds upward and gets more intense the fusion concepts seem to be more of the driving forces. That said, we get some leanings toward King Crimson type stuff as it continues to scream forward.
From Darkness
Speaking of King Crimson, this really resembles that as it powers in and works its way along the musical road. It's pretty intense and tastefully off-kilter. While this stays reasonably constant in terms of stylings, it's a wandering sort of number that covers a lot of territory.
The Sound of the Earth II

King Crimson merges with fusion, Rock in Opposition and more on this dark and fierce piece of music. This soundscape gets more and more intense as it drives upward. It gets quite freeform and cacophonous around the five and a half minute mark. It gets quite noisy a couple minutes later before dropping back to a percussion dominated movement. That section has some bass sporadically rising up while a guitar solos over the top. The crazed intensity continues to ramp up as this evolves and grows. It dissolves toward chaos before atmospherics eventually end it.

Serenity
Atmospherics with little stabs of sound is the concept at the start of this. The track gradually works forward from there gaining more of a melodic and consistent texture. It has plenty of psychedelia along with fusion at its core.  They wander through some cool changes as this exploration intensifies and spreads outward. It feels quite freeform in a lot of ways. As it approaches the four minute mark it gets some metallic textures spliced onto its form. By around the five minute mark it has dropped down to decidedly mellower spacey sounds.
The Sound of the Earth III

Bass opens this, and other elements gradually rise up to join it. After the one minute mark some bluesy guitar dances around. The track continues its journey in that sort of vein for a while, but there are some atmospheric trippy elements over the top. This gets quite powered up and rocking as it drives onward. It drifts toward more freeform fusion like territory after a while as some space elements are heard over the top of the mix. The bass takes command for a while, but all the musicians join as they work through this more laid back exploration.

Lovely Place
A mellower, melodic texture brings this into being. There is a bit of an echoey weirdness to it, though. It gradually makes its way upward as it continues. This really starts to soar further down the road as it gets louder and more intense. There is some powerhouse guitar soloing built into this thing.
The Sound of the Earth IV
Over 16 and a half minutes long, this is the epic of the set. It starts mellow and rather atmospheric and grows tentatively. It stays reasonably quiet, echoey and trippy for more than two and half minutes. Bits of sound hint at an intensification after a time, though. The bass jams while waves of texture come over the top. While it's not dramatically more intense, the volume level of the spacey slow progress has ramped up by around the five and a half minute mark. It's still reasonably sparse, though. The space becomes more all encompassing as it continues. The volume really starts to rise around the 8 and a half mark, bringing the intensity up with it. Yet the piece still feels quite free form as it does so. Additionally, nothing changes fast, it's all very gradual. Then around the nine and a half minute mark it drops way back down as weird echoey space flits around. That starts getting louder and louder taking the listener to strange places. This eventually gets much louder and almost menacing as it makes its way forward. The climb is well under way after the 12 minute mark. This thing really gets powerful and pretty crazed as it ascends. The noise level increases, too. It's so intense. A bit of a rocking groove emerges after the 14 minute mark. It sort of seems to lose focus after a bit and then drops way down to just waves of sound that explore in a noisy way. It moves downward toward weird atmosphere from there. That element holds the piece and takes it to its closing.
Take a Walk
Fusion-like exploration brings this into being with a definite King Crimson sort of thing at play. Some metallic and space rock textures join as it builds. I love some of the bass fills on this thing. The piece gets quite intense and involved as it marches forward and upward. It drops back down after a while, though, and the mellower textures eventually take it to the end.
 
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