Grinded Grin is a Croatian band project originally started by Aleksandar Vrhovec in 2005, who returned to the project in 2018 along with the bands Acid Hags and LucidFer. This led to the release of the 11 track album “Reset” which was written and recorded in May of 2018. Aleksandar played most of the music (guitars, bass, piano, synth and vocals) with a little help from guest players from all around the world. Giò Maucieri added the drum parts, while session musicians like Josué García (Trumpet) Obadias Guerra (Harp) Robert-Jan Zandvoort (Saxophone), Jim Wells (Trumpet) and Victor Fuenmayor (Trombone) can be heard on various tracks. Released as a Cd and Double album, “Reset” runs the gamut of jazz, fusion, avant-garde, blues, progressive rock and classical flavors.
I can’t emphatically recommend this enough if you’re looking for music that is off the beaten track and challenging. It is a perfect album of musical ideas complimenting genres which are seldom perfected. A true treasure for those inclined to submit themselves to a grand listening experience that is very demanding, but once entered into freely, surprisingly accessible. It amazes me how these guys blend complex and well-layered compositions with a standard of casual listen-ability, making the album as easy to enjoy as it is impressive.
If you’re a fan of progressive rock and fusion bands from the seventies, this is music that will positively blow your mind. Stellar performances by all the players, intricate writing, power and creative brilliance inundates these tracks. Right from the opening track this album breathes nostalgia into our midst.
A far cry from computer induced music, such intangible bliss like this is precisely what life’s finer experiences are all about. Aleksandar Vrhovec and Grinded Grin reach another pinnacle here on “Reset”. The compositions are unbelievably complex and beautiful, unison lines moving freely, instrumentation inspired and superb, and the artistic soul fire is at maximum. Grinded Grin is peaking all systems on this album.
There is a playful yet forceful punch happening here. Aleksander‘s keys are perfectly cool, his guitar voicings and phrasings awesome, the bass playing goes beyond mere words of description, and Maucieri’s superb drum grooves are a substantial part of Grinded Grin’s sound.
The range of horns, are of course what gives this band their distinctiveness in the current music scene. “Reset” is truly an ambitious, wonderful piece of work. Of course you’re going to have to invest time into this album if you want to savor its musical fruits. There are no radio ready three minute verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus song here.
What you will find, is the sprawling downtempo ambience of the 20 minute long “Time-Lapse”, or the 10 minutes of grinding avant-garde buzz on “Confronted”. But then there is also the epic post-rock guitars on “Densely”, and the haunting, spaced-out trumpet and piano on “Petulance”, or the sublime harp on “Wretch”.
Without of course forgetting the stalwart powerhouse drumming on the bone-crushing “Pond Spinning”, which also features some manic sax work. “Bubbles” forges a smooth and sultry jazz landscape with another superlative trumpet performance. In the back ground there is always Aleksandar Vrhovec, who is an incredible player with an endless stream of ideas.
“Reset” is certainly an exiting album for this day and age, as we see Grinded Grin transform musical genres into something far more abstract than the traditional elaborations of wind, stringed, keyboard, and percussive instruments.
At the same time we get to see Aleksandar Vrhovec’s fascination with the avant-garde and the experimental. The result brings spectacles of incendiary musicianship and creativity from the entire band, and an album which is full of dynamic surprises and innovative marvel.