Barcelona bassist Àlex Reviriego is on a roll, right now. Phicus (Astral Spirits) have released one of my favourite albums of 2020. Möhit Trio’s self-titled debut disc brings his sensitivity to the fore (out now on Gusstaff Records). And now, as a lead up to a solo album on tripticks tapes later this year, he’s putting out a number of EPs, the first of which is a solo recording inspired by Fred Astaire.
That Àlex Reviriego should revere Fred Astaire is first surprising, but then not. FA and ÀR are separated by different art forms and epochs but both are nimble, fleet (of foot and finger), obviously percussive, and combine strength with a delicate precision. (They may also have one or two differences, but I’m ignoring those.)
So what does it sound like? Well, Reviriego’s bass howls, creaks, groans, whines, ticks, whirrs, purrs, shrieks, farts and thumps. The solo improvisations inspired by Fred Astaire take him to some unexpected but oddly not incongruous places. In #1, Fred starts with a soft-shoe shuffle and ends whining like a heat-seeking lancet. #2 finds Fred sawing the universe in half (not necessarily as a magic trick). Fred #3 is an overheated engine, burning rough edges with revolutions and friction. #4 places Fred cthonically deep, lightly dancing through Hades; just passing through, folks.
The two versions (spare, stripped down, minimalist, what have you…) of Cheek to Cheek are a bloody delight. The tempo is down, and way down, respectively. Each warm, familiar, unhurried note becomes long-awaited. Drenched in reverb. Thoughtful, strangely satisfying takes that reduce the tune to an essence while opening up fresh depths and hidden corners.
And as befits the inspiration, the sound is constantly on the move – not remaining still for a moment within the sound chamber you call a head – headphones highly recommended for full immersive 3D pleasure.
Now all we need is a bass-playing Ginger Rogers – someone who does everything Àlex Reviriego does, but backwards and in heels. (Apologies, it’s an old joke but I couldn’t resist.)
Fred Astaire 1
Fred Astaire 2
Cheek to Cheek (slow)
Fred Astaire 3
Fred Astaire 4
Cheek to Cheek (even slower)
Àlex Reviriego – double bass, (with Boss PS-2, EHX Big Muff, Boss RV-2 on #6.)
“Fred Astaire” is available for download from Àlex Reviriego’s Bandcamp page.