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Oxhuitza - Oxhuitza CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.51 | 34 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Modern RPI maestro Fabio Zuffanti sure has a keen eye for talent. Along with releasing the knockout debut from young Italian band Unreal City recently, he's also signed this wonderful instrumental band Oxhuitza to his label Mirror Records, and it's yet another terrific release that shows a promising and exciting new band showing off the best of their abilities right from the start.

This band sure was difficult to place right on the Archives! They passed through many of the evaluation groups before landing under the Psych label, and it's easy to see why. Although frequently quite riff heavy, tearing through fast-paced guitar attacks or slowly building up hypnotic moods, the album is overloaded wall to wall with swirling keyboard explosions and left-of-centre quirky interludes. No wonder the band's name translates to `sprial'! These musicians are full of youthful energy but they still demonstrate a respect and devotion towards the vintage bands. Fans of the beloved Mellotron will find plenty of it here too.

Opener `# 0-1' is an energetic foot-tapper with guitar riffing that winds it's way around snapping drumming and punchy Mellotron/Hammond blasts. A lazy comparison might be the heavier stuff on the more recent Porcupine Tree albums, until you get to the final minute, when just as guitarist Luca Bassignani is soaring for the heavens amongst triumphant waves of 'Tron bliss, the piece abruptly turns quite jaunty, comical and loopy! These sort of twists occasionally pop up through the album, which listeners will either love or hate!

`Luna Di Maggio' is a peppy rocker with some very ragged Hammond abusing in the first half, a sedate and mysterious second half full of trilling synths before a blasting guitar run in the finale with a wild and messy ending! The frantic direction changing present throughout this piece is worked into most of the the tracks on the album.

`Nervi in Fibra Ottica' instantly has me thinking of ancient Egypt and shifting sands, it's full of whirring synth drama, haunting darting flute, waterdrop-like electric piano tiptoes and a booming menace that breaks through the crystalline ambience.

One of my favourite tracks on the album, `Kirky' has gorgeous dazzling classical gothic piano piercing through blasts of ghostly Mellotron choir, in a way that only the Italian bands do so well. The middle drifts into a hallucinogenic blur of hyper-colour whirring synths before racing through a jazzy run and quieter acoustic guitar passage that makes this track sound like something on one of the classic early Banco albums.

`Pixel' opens has plenty of chugging hard-rock riffs with climbing electric guitar soloing with a cloudy post-rock haze in the middle. But it's the middle-eastern tinged drama of closer `Mano Di Luna' that most impresses. Quick tempo changes back and forth and maniacal piano in the first section, leading to cinematic synth scores mixed with Mellotron oceans before an extended ambient movement full of lonely flute that drifts through the wilderness trying to find it's way back to the Gong or Ozric Tentacles album it wandered off from (hint - try looking at `The Hidden Step' and `Shamal', fellas!).

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.

Four stars - and just look at that artwork! Vinyl release please, Oxhuitza fellas!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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