A key advantage of playing complex instrumental music in a trio or quartet is the luxury of having one player free to keep the ball of melody in play while granting the other instrumentalists the freedom to harmonize, play counterpoint or just cut loose. This was the case for Dusan Jevtovic and Xavi Reija when, along with bassist Bernat Hernandez and under Xavi’s name, they recorded 2014’s MoonJune release “Resolution”. Prior to that, though with Marko Djordjevic drumming, Dusan offered up 2013’s “Am I Walking Wrong”. Both of these trio releases pointed the way to a style of composition emphasizing melodic interplay and rhythmic complexity while not sacrificing the improvisatory nature that make the music such a thrilling listen. Now in choosing to work as a two-man configuration called XaDu, Xavi and Dusan must first establish each composition with its intrinsic melodic and rhythmic components, then allow it to partially deconstruct as they explore the vast sonic palette of guitar and drumkit. Dusan’s guitar and pedalwork conjure a soundscape that can range from the introspective and almost ambient/atmospheric to the urgency of careening snow-blind through a maelstrom of sound. Xavi is right in the vortex, coaxing riffs into life, laying chase to Dusan’s frenetic runs with his supremely musical tom work, or just falling away in a wash of cymbals when the wave of energy has crashed on the shore. The reductionist “connect-the-dots” approach to this playing serves to really pull the listener into the mix; whereas Dusan first lays down a “Feelies”-era strummed guitar chord structure on “New Pop”, the responsibility to maintain that sunny day disposition is left to Xavi’s rhythmic interpretation as Dusan ventures into a world of darkening skies through a series of elongated bursts and pedal colorations. Two musicians work together to economically craft a very filmic piece where every sustained and slightly vibrato’d note or chord play to maximum effect with the deep toms and choked cymbals. Math metal jazz and fuzzy fusion. at the highest level, and the overall takeaway here is the great joy of listening to these two very talented players and witnessing their abilities to coax only the very best from each other in XaDu. It is most successful musical pairing indeed.
released July 25, 2016
MJR073 MoonJune Records
XAVI REIJA drums; DUSAN JEVTOVIC guitar.
Produced by XaDu.
Executive producer Leonardo Pavkovic.
Recorded in Barcelona in 2014.
1. Secrets (6:38) Xavi Reija
2. Random Abstract (6:02) Xavi Reija
3. Decaying Sky (7:58) Xavi Reija
4. New Pop (7:10) Dusan Jevtovic
5. Something In Between (7:51) Dusan Jevtovic
6. Deep Ocean (6:53) Xavi Reija
7. Place With A View (4:56) Dusan Jevtovic
8. Workplace (4:06) Xavi Reija/Dusan Jevtovic
9. No Hope (4:44) Dusan Jevtovic