SPAIN GNOWOT RECORDS GNW 001 C.D. (2021)
With your common or garden fusion, it’s usually just a straight on-to-one exchange; jazz/rock, prog/metal (eurgh), folk/rock, etc etc, but with Spanish improv quintet Orbain Unit, the switchboard is made to light up like a Christmas tree. Anything goes I guess, in this multi-directional outfit’s quest for the fractured chord. As the unit only seems to come into existence on an infrequent basis, those gap years, between 2016’s well-received Suiseki release on Repentino Records, have seen the band members heading back to more regular/full-time (?) concerns. Guitarist/sleeve artist Mikel Vega and drummer Joxean Rivas were claimed by Killerkume, saxist Fernando Ulzion and bassist Txemi Artigas by Los Plomos and Iker Anazole (even more drums), by veteran industrialists of a ’92 vintage: Akauzazte.
On the live recording Xerai, their hybridization of genres, calling on the more unusual suspects such as avant metal, free blowing, hairy noise and customized electronics continue unabated. With the opener “Ljoom”, Joxean’s wordless vocalese is captured manfully fighting to be heard in a busy and tense melee in which Fernando’s sax lines take on a strangled goose quality in sympathy with its surroundings. Those forlorn vocal wailings are again employed at the core of the brooding “Kurtzea”, while certain spikier aspects of “Powerhouse” and “Adheit” seem to dog the tracks left by U.S. chaos-jazzers The Molecules and even Metal Eater; their equally cantankerous offspring.
Several listens to Xerai will undoubtedly tweak the grey matter into thinking that the two drummer set-up used by the Orbains is surely the way forward, and any band using just the one measly sticksman is set on the rocky road to artistic decline – those feelings should pass in the fullness of time – but me? I’m not so sure…
Also available on cassette through “Crystal Mine Music“.