Warning: Before experiencing this CD, make sure have room to freely move your body!
You are holding the debut CD recording from Studio Barxeta, Valencia. It’s a gourmet recipe of Jazz/Jazz-Rock/Funk/World music from the global village cookbook. ‘Barxeta’ is yet another distinguished addition to the deliciously diverse Losen Records catalogue.
Only geographically are there boundaries. Drummer/percussionist Alex Acuña was born in the western part of Peru and raised in Puerto Rico and the USA. Electric/acoustic bassist Per Mathisen is from the eastern part of Norway. Pianist/synth maestro Jan Gunar Hoff is from the northern part of Norway.
‘Barxeta’ is the second album from the band, which since forming in 2008 has toured extensively. Individually, their pedigrees are impeccable. Alex, one of the most accomplished drummer/percussionists on the planet, displays here immense passion and creativity. His unique sense of timing and folklore-feel provide the foundation for this excellent album. Per’s immaculate technique and distinctive sound are expressed through an arsenal of basses and the creative use of multi-effects. Throughout the album he plays with inspirational ingenuity, cherishing each note and phrase. Jan Gunnar’s mix of acoustic and electric keyboards is simply unique. His craftsmanship combined with an innate sense of melody pervades these tracks and empowers the band to create rich tapestries of sound.
Barxeta opens with ‘Belarus’, a gentle musical landscape with a quietly urgent rhythmic backbone. Jan Gunnar’s keyboards interweave seamlessly and are complemented with dynamic and empathic interplay from Per and Alex. ‘Grande Castelar’ is filled with flowing synth and bass unison riffs masterly balanced with undulating rhythmic rolls, fills and a killer drum solo. This is time-honoured jazz-rock! ‘Embrace’ is a celebration of the piano-based acoustic jazz trio. A charmingly stated theme opens the door for a set of creative variations that can only be so well clarified by a band who know each other well. ‘Latineando’ is a percussive panacea – played in Acuña-time! It’s a tireless conga-bongo extravaganza – featuring an ethnic vocal by Alex. The percussive intro to the title track ‘Barxeta’ leads to a hauntingly memorable statement on fretless bass. The track blossoms into a balanced, laid-back three-chef-chilled-cuisine! ‘Tu Amor’ is a bewitching musical journey. Subtle thematic harmonies both minor and major are punctuated by tour-de-force bass riffs, pianoforte – and all very nicely served up on a propulsive bed of Acuña Latin drive. Talking of which, ‘Havana Drive’ is a Cuban-inspired platform for aficionados. ‘Indochina’ is special. Triplets here, tempo changes there – ethnic evolves to rock, a smattering of fifths and further to a musical master class. ‘Winds of Faith’ is an elegant/gentle Latin/fretless/timeless chill. In his ‘Abogat Funk’, Per vocoder-leads a definitive funk band performance. ‘La Sangria del Sr. Manzano’ seals the album and is an exhilarating excursion indeed! Indefatigable Acuña opens with an impelling groove. Two minutes in, we swing into a pure jazz fast four, a blistering solo from Jan Gunnar and then it’s back to Alex and a final stunning solo played over a myriad of textures created by his bandmates.
OK. You have the recipe – you have the ingdredients. This superb band is cookin’!