Reviews that mention Iker Arrazola

September 7, 2021

Orbain Unit

Xerai
Gnowot Records gnw 001

Matteo Ciminari

Fried Hippocampus

Chant Records CR2012 MA

Obstreperous but not obnoxious these European combos present pronounced instances of mature Pop-Rock-Jazz. Conspicuous piquancy is part of the appeal, although one emphasizes precision and the other grunge.

Grungy without sloppiness, the Orbain Unit works to avoid Metal music sludge during the four improvisations from the five-piece Spanish unit. Veterans of the Basque Country’s indie Rock and Improv Jazz scenes, members’ tough sound reflect the area’s industrial capabilities. With gritty undercurrents each track bleeds into the next. Squeezing and sliding the sometime cross-pollinated tracks maintain an electronic drone undercurrent, Featured alongside is continuous pounding from drummers Iker Arrazola and Joxean Rivas, intense pulses from Txemi Artigas’ electric bass and guitarist Mikel Vega’s swelling frails, twangs and oscillations as screeches, whines and peeps from saxophonist Fernando Ulzión stretch across the expositions. Overall the group negotiates between head banging and finger snapping rhythms. The most prominent instance of head snapping occurs on “Kurtzea” which shakes with a Bo Diddley-like beat. Here fly-by-plane-like guitar licks solidify beside electronic whizzes and tremolo saxophone licks until the widening exposition is pierced by synthesized jitters and hardened reed tongue stabs. This sonic overlay trickles into the extended and surprising melodic “Powerhouse”. While intense motifs are thrust out by a tight machine drones and fluid bass guitar thumps, the expositions fragments leaving whatever pseudo-lyricism there is to come from descending guitar flanges. Sound pressure finally reaches a plateau and the piece climaxes with layers of buzzing, thumping percussion and thin guitar note stretches. MORE