Oxhuitza is a project that began life in 2011 on the initiative of guitarist and composer from Fivizzano Luca Bassignani and was named after an ancient Maya archaeological site. In 2013 an eponymous début album was released on the new independent label Mirror Records, recorded at the Hilary Studio in Genoa and produced by Fabio Zuffanti and Rossano Villa. Along with Luca Bassignani (electric and acoustic guitars), the musicians involved during the recording sessions were Rossano Villa (Hammond organ, Mellotron, Minimoog, Fender Rhodes, vibes, percussion), Carlo Barreca (bass, flute), Christian Giannarelli (drums) and Gabriele Guidi (piano, Hammond organ, Minimoog). The result of their efforts is a nice, fresh concoction of vintage and modern sounds that is really worth listening to. The album is completely instrumental but in the booklet you can find drawings, pictures and words that contribute to set the right atmosphere.
The opener “# 01” seems to evoke a cosmic, frenzied ride in search for light and space. There's a sense of exotic mystery and some sudden changes in mood and rhythm. On the notes of the following “Luna di Maggio” (May Moon) you can find “a new light in front of a new beginning” and run freely under the moon, then you can relax quietly in the night carried away on the wings of your dreams, waiting for a new burst of energy.
“Nervi in fibra ottica” (Nerves of optical fibre) features a slower pace and darker musical colours. Here math rock patterns are intertwined with evocative flute lines and jazzy passages where “the soul gets cool, the machine becomes human and plays, cheats, seduces...”. The following “Kirky” is another dark track full of mystery. There are some disquieting passages where tension and rhythm rise, then a short, dreamy acoustic section full of hope where the previous tension melts for a while. Well, try to imagine a land covered by an intricate forest with high trees pushing their roots deep into the ground and their branches up towards the sky, then listen to the song of the brook that flows there...
“Pixel” is a good track featuring sharp guitar riffs and calmer passages, exotic flavours and echoes of ancient myths. It leads to the conclusive “Mano di luna” (Moon hand), a long, complex piece featuring some delicate melodies and a dreamy mood where the musicians pick their way unerringly through a labyrinth of different sensations and styles. On the whole, the album might be a bit short (only about 37 minutes) but there are no fillers and the final result is absolutely good.
Oxhuitza: Oxhuitza (2013). Other opinions:
Michael “Aussie-Byrd-Brother”: Although the occasional quirky elements grate on me a little, this really is a perky cracker of an album, that not only continues the 2013 tradition of superb Italian releases, but top-quality instrumental albums from this year as well. This self-titled work from Oxhuitza proves just how vibrant and thrilling the modern progressive rock scene is, and talented young bands like this will ensure the genre thrives for years to come... (read the complete review HERE)