AMN Reviews: Alex Reviriego – Els gats gordos també tenen problemes [Discordian Records DRO76]

a3928389255_16Barcelona’s Alex Reviriego is a powerful young double bassist with an impressive command of advanced technique and an exploratory attitude toward the timbral possibilities inherent in his instrument. His solo release, Els gats gordos també tenen problemes, draws on these techniques as well as on a complement of preparations to produce a sound that–first impressions to the contrary—relies on no overdubs or electronic enhancements of the bass’s natural voice.

The sonic complexity Reviriego is able to summon is evidenced from the very first track. Setting up a contrast between brighter and more muted colors, Reviriego plucks dark arpeggios from prepared strings while simultaneously playing a harsh, scraping arco. This solo polyphony is a hallmark of his playing, which often has him plucking or hammering the strings with his left hand while drawing the bow with his right. Even in the absence of preparations Reviriego’s technical range facilitates access to an expanded palette of tone colors and textures bracketed, as on the track TCCPFP, between a dark, often rough arco in the lower register on the one side and stridently shimmering harmonics on the other. Some of the tracks explore a more limited technical or sonic field: Medusas errants, for example, is like an etude in pressure bowing on prepared strings. But all is not a matter of aggressive attack and extended technique here; Reviriergo also shows a gentler side on Canço Pop, whose pensive melodicism is carried on a simple and straightforward pizzicato.

Daniel Barbiero