11/05/2022Turin's Rhabdomantic Orchestra Is Joined By Colombian Singer Maria Mallol Moya On Sublime Follow-Up LP

Cinematic, symphonic, surreal? The words to describe the Rhabdomantic Orchestra's sophomore longplayer on Agogo Records are manifold, as are the ideas and influences intricately woven into the tell-tale arrangements. Six years after the group's acclaimed album "Albore", Turin-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Manuel Volpe leads the orchestral charge to the project's follow-up album "Almagre". Only this time, he is joined by Colombian singer Maria Mallol Moya, adding emotive depth to the already intense musical experience.

Preceding last Friday's official release, the multifarious lead single "Suffer! Suffer!" was quick to cause a stir on the airwaves and hit the ground running, championed by a brilliant companion video heralding the album's imminent arrival. "Almagre" is not only the Arabic-Hispanic word for the red ochre obtained from iron oxide, it also describes "a sort of novel in music inspired by surrealist aesthetics and South American magical realism," a style popularised by Latin American writers in the 1950s such as Jose Martí, Ruben Darío or Gabriel García Márquez, but also found in the art of Salvador Dalí or the films of Luis Buñuel. 

Further pursuing the idea of creating surreal, dream-like settings from real life, might very well be the right path to set out on, when immersing yourself in the album's nine-track narrative. "Almagre" is "a visceral, reactionary, spiritual yet political album" seeking to achieve cathartic relief through sublime experience. "Each episode develops itself in linearity through the superimposition of cyclical figures, where the instruments act as characters in continuous exchange with Maria's eclectic vocal shades."

Audible elements from afrobeat, spiritual jazz, Mediterranean melodies, Balinese gamelan, salsa, krautrock, library music and more are arranged, "condensed and blended with the aim of [creating] a fluid vision of what we call world music. [...] What I would like to explore with Rhabdomantic is the evocative and narrative power of the arrangements to achieve a sort of magical realism where the imaginative power of music can speak for itself,” says Manuel Volpe.

"Almagre" in a nutshell is the soundtrack to human transformation, to a spiritual awakening and the renewed rise of a political consciousness. Despite its supernatural tendencies, it is very much set in the here and now, propagating a type of musical escapism that is nonetheless of this world. Call it a truism, but the more you listen, the more you will discover in this modern-day symphony. 

Rhabdomantic Orchestra are:
Maria Mallol Moya (vocals)
Manuel Volpe (bass, guitars, farfisa organ, wurlitzer, synth)
Simone Pozzi (drums, percussion)
Marco Zanotti (percussion)
Juan Carlos Calderin (percussions)
Gianandrea Cravero (guitar)
Zevi Burdovach (farfisa organ)
Nicola Meloni (hohner organ, electric piano)
Fabio Mina (flutes)
Maurizio Busca (tenor sax, clarinet and bass clarinet)
Simone Garino (baritone sax, alto sax)
Diego Grassedonio (tenor sax)
Davide Pignata (alto sax)
Stefano Cocon (trumpet, flugelhorn)

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom