27/03/2024Catalan Experimental Duo ZA! Joins Forces With Andalusian 'Cantaor' Perrate On Transformative LP

Everybody gather 'round, the circus is in town! Always keen to feast our ears on extraordinary productions from around the globe, this latest release on the Madrid-based imprint Lovemonk has us in a positive state of frenzy. It's an all-out Spanish affair if you will, bringing together two boundary-pushing acts, placing them before a white canvas and hoping for the best. The result of this particular amalgamation is nothing short of a revelation, a visionary endeavour marked by a certain dadaistic nonchalance and penchant for the progressive – call it avant-garde.

In 2022, Andalusian flamenco 'cantaor' Tomás Fernández Soto, aka Tomás de Perrate, released his celebrated oeuvre "Tres golpes". Produced by mastermind Raül Refree, Perrate's first album in eleven years was an absolute statement, which saw him "[explore] the outer edges of flamenco without forsaking its profound essence rooted in lineage and tradition, evident in every note of his voice." Offering a glimpse of what modern flamenco might sound like, Perrate thus announced his momentous return to the global circuit and eagerness to experiment.

This in turn lead to a serendipitous encounter with Catalan two-piece ZA!. Innate explorers in their own right – known for their unconventional and borderline ludic approach to musical production as well as utter disregard for anything resembling a genre – the duo's "radical and unclassifiable" style instantly struck a chord with Perrate, when he witnessed one of their shows at a festival. Long story short, these "two powerful musical entities" decided to join forces and see where this collaboration might lead them. 

Enter "Jolifanto", a ground-breaking and no-doubt transformative experience that resembles a flamenco fairground of sorts: loud, iridescent, polyrhythmic, timeless, unexpected. Jam-packed with sonorous attractions, "both improvised and meticulously planned," the record successfully circumnavigates a broad spectrum of musical territories to stake out its own. Over the course of eight tracks, "ZA! and Perrate [...] form an organism traveling from the roots to the rave, with nothing sounding out of place because the place is yet to be defined."

The virtuosic spontaneity of it all reveals a mesmerising insouciance, a state of being perfectly unconcerned with external validation and focused entirely on the magic of co-creation. "I don't care what the most radical traditionalist minds may think of this or any other work I do," says Perrate. "This is my time and I intend to live it according to my way of feeling and living flamenco – my ancestors had a lot to do with the birth of this culture, and each of them created according to their feelings and their time. And I do the same." 

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom