Hitabaldaäs is a Spanish-based nu-jazz group that I have been thinking of writing about for quite a long time. The band consists of Jodi Blanch on drums and percussion, Ramon Casamajó on electric trumpet, Pau Escoda on keyboard, Pere Esteve on guitar and Iven Reyes on bass.
Hitabaldaäs was actually founded in 1997 by Jordi Blench, Pere Esteve and Cusso in the form of a trio who had been strongly influenced by 90s American rock and 70s experimental rock – Tool, Radiohead, Red Snipper to name a few. The trio participated in the first “Rock de Badalona” contest and became one of the finalists with their song “Slide One”. The song also appeared in the “Conspiradors a Badalona” compilation in 1999. It wasn’t until 2005 that the group reappeared as a quintet without Cusso including Ivan Reyes on bass, Raman Casamajò on trumpet and Pau Escada on keyboards. They released their self-titled debut album in December, 2010.
The album consists of nine songs, seven of which embrace nu-jazz and trip-hop followed by two pure techno remixes. “Alone” is the opening song while being the longest one as well. Although it is quite long, the song breaks the monotony with the rising and falling rhythms. In addition, the dub touch of the song makes you feel as if a film has started. I think a rapid, high-pitched trumpet solo especially when the rhythm gets faster after a chill-out period would have been a nice touch. “Golden Reef” is the only song with lyrics, in which Raquel Piernas appears as the female vocal whose voice suits the song perfectly well. It has a psychedelic atmosphere with a balanced arrangement of electronic elements. “Lap On” follows the cinematic atmosphere with a faster tempo created by the precise beats of the drummer Blanch. The keyboard and the trumpet speak nu-jazz fluently. In “Jan”, the trumpet is in the foreground with its nice improvisational solo. The guitar and vocals contribute to the dream-like atmosphere. “Una Altra Nit Freda I Humida” has a harmonic composition which makes it easy to memorize and accompany almost immediately. The song starts peacefully like spring, followed by stormy intrusions of the distorted guitar and comes to an end with the calming down of the instruments. “Colors d’alba” invites the listener into a world of short-lived comfort (as it is the shortest song in the album) with its fancy drum and bass character accompanied by soft keyboards and metals. In my opinion, a bass solo in this song would have been a perfect choice to add more to its character. ”That’s All” is my favourite song in this album, which consists of many layers. It starts with a psychedelic atmosphere with story telling guitar and keyboards, softly speaking bass and whispering cymbals. Then the trumpet follows the story in an acoustic way. After this organic introduction, the guitar riffs set the scene with its distorted sound again, which leads you to a world of imagination. The end is so abrupt that it wakes you up and warns you that it is just a dream. This song combines the jazz, rock and electronic elements in such an elegant way that I can’t help listening to it again and again. The first “Golden Reef” remix by Killerfunk is nice with its almost dub arrangement. The second one is completely different from the character of the album as it stands much closer to techno.
Hitabaldaäs on this album finds the balance between acoustic and processed sounds weaving them with rock, jazz and electronic elements. The eclectic character of the album displays their open-mindedness as well. I recommend it to people who like to get lost in a psychedelic musical atmosphere by creating a world of their own following the soundsteps of an album.
You can listen it here. :)