Fathoming terrestrial depths, Tarragonès polymath leads a stellar line-up out of our world and back again.
“Abyss”: this track from 2016’s "Resolution" may amount to a summary of Xavi Reija’s approach to aural landscaping, but the Catalanian drummer has never been afraid to jump into chasm, let alone stare into it and send in reports all the way from the verge down, “The Sound Of The Earth” is that step over the edge. Expanding the duo setup of "Random Abstract" with the presence of a couple Stick Men, he created a chtonic-cum-ethereal dichotomy where Dušan Jevtović serves up serrated rifferama on six strings and Markus Reuter’s touch guitar texturizes the sonic picture, while Tony Levin’s talking bass keeps the overall movement anchored to prevent freefall.
As the four terraforming, yet atmospheric, parts of the titular suite – a product of the quartet’s collective mind – get scattered across the board, to traverse the sweet unknown in multiple dimensions, and are interspersed with lesser epics which propel the album’s mood from rhythmic uncertainty to percussive ecstasy, a grandiose panorama is slowly floating into view. Still, if the shards of “Serenity” render the number’s shimmer rather muscular and angular, the rarefied bluesy meander of “The Sound Of The Earth III” and the thunder of “Deep Ocean” are rapturous in their start-stop raw roar making the latter piece a perfect opener whose parping crawl and creepy licks feel extremely arresting; and if “From Darkness” has its mighty groove stricken with searing melodic flickers, the tuneful “Lovely Place” locates an ultimate lyricism in Reija’s self-portrait.
It takes the last section of the suite to display an entire amplitude of this ensemble’s abilities, as the composition is growing from a barely heard rumble to an ever-shifting urban drone and to progressive cacophony of the highest order, but it’s “Take A Walk” that will find Xavi at his most unhurried, laying simple beat on the line. Quite a way to roll a milestone and let the Earth be heard worldwide!