WARNING! Highly Infectious Guitar and Beyond Ridden Groove-A Thon!
So reads the back of Microscopic by Spain’s Razl (AKA Raul Huelves). I’m not one to argue with such a definitive statement, when you pop this sucker into your CD player you get exactly what’s advertised if not more. This is unpretentious and fun music played at a high caliber.
Razl makes use of a bevy of cool gear to provide what sounds a lot like an organ trio. First and foremost in that line of attack is his Hugues & Kettner Rotosphere. It creates that great Leslie cabinet sound that is necessary for laying down a thick groove. You won’t get lulled into that groove for too long though before something comes out of left field to make you shake your head. case in point is a Zappa-esque break about halfway through ‘The Bearded Woman Meets Fedor The Giant.
The effects on ‘Centipede’ will make you think someone shook up the Razl snow globe and distorted your whole World. I also love the chimes and bells that pop up throughout the album. You may have noticed a familiar name included in the personnel, one Mr. Bryan Beller who is referred to herein as ‘The Bass Boy’ and why not. His fuzz laden groove provides just the right bottom heavy support for the guitar stylings of Razl. Asked about recording with Razl, Bryan had this to say, “I really dig Razl’s music. People overuse and misapply the word quirky, but it’s the right word in this case. His tunes are quirky, funky, and fun to listen to. I had fun playing them! Plus he’s a killer guitarist who’s not trying to impress you – he just wants you to groove along with him.”
The tunes on Microscopic are all so playful. They remind me of some of the early Phish songs like ‘Fee’ for example, but without the words. You can almost hear the story line in ‘The Amazing Story of Al, The Aardvark” without the word though. I can picture Al be-boppin’ down the street on his way to cause trouble somewhere.
The other similarity that I can’t seem to dislodge from my brain while listening to this is that of Charlie Hunter and the sound he gets out of his 8-string guitars. Both guitarists play with a tangible joy, that’s…well…infectious!
Another simpatico guitarist, Will Bernard, is featured on the last track, ‘Locksmith St.’ Will and Razl are certainly cut from the same cloth and it’s almost hard to tell them apart.
For more information on Razl, please check out his website:
And if you haven’t already, you might as well go see what The Bass Boy is up to: