It’s time to enter the land of floating, decapitated birds and dismembered whales. Or at least that’s what the artwork would have you think. Today we’re going to have a look at “Basal Ganglia” by Mestis aka Javier Reyes. Javier is a world class guitar virtuoso known for his work in Animals As Leaders and the recent T.R.A.M. with Tosin Abasi. He honestly doesn’t get enough credit in those projects next to the godly Abasi so it’s great to see him step into the spotlight. This is his first official project written and executed by himself. But how well does it stack up?

It’s more than safe to say “Basal Ganglia” is an awesome, original listening experience. I’m sure many of you taking the time to read this review have heard the latest effort from Animals As Leaders, “Weightless”. Well if I were to describe the sound of “Basal Ganglia” for you, I would look to a particular track from that record, the clean album ender “David”. And I mean that in the best way possible. “Basal Ganglia” is like a longer, more complex, evolved “David” with a Latin taste, percussion, more instruments, and more heaviness at times. This release could have been called “Davíd el EP” (forgive my poor lingual skills). There is a very eerie, out of the box sound suggesting mystery that is presented throughout this EP and it sounds great in the ears.

All the song titles are in Spanish. And if you couldn’t tell from earlier, my command of that language is very poor so I won’t even bother attempting translations. But it’s really cool how it fits in with the whole Latin feel of “Basal Ganglia”. To kick things off, you have “Te Mato”, which was actually partially released in a promo awhile back to hype up this record a few months back. You can take a look/listen here or above. It’s cool to hear some brass in there. Really great track that sets the tone for the release. “Semilla” kicks ass with a fusion feel and intelligent composition. The inclusion of bongos in the mix is a welcome one. The two shortest tracks on the release “Olvidala” and the EP closer “Luz y Cielo” especially have that “David” vibe I was describing earlier, although they certainly stand out on their own. This brings me to my favorite song on “Basal Ganglia”, “Menta”. Javier goes all out on this track. Next level composition, progressions, and thought went into this one. I especially enjoy his use of counterpoint here.

I have no real criticisms of this EP. Objectively, this probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea due to the out of the box approach and strange vibes at times, but personally I love it. And I also love tea, so more for me!

If you honestly can’t tell by now, “Basal Ganglia” is most definitely a recommended release. Especially for all the prog-heads out there and just about anyone who enjoys large doses of creativity. I applaud Javier Reyes on his efforts, and we at The Circle Pit look forward to all his future releases. If you enjoy what you’re hearing, be sure to grab a copy of “Basal Ganglia” right here and stay tuned!

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