Malphino are an outer-national, mystical band from an imaginary tropical island that
has dreamt up a cinematic score and audio backdrop to their idyll. A promised land
of hypnotic cumbia rhythms, subtle digital warbling, accordion textures, voodoo
vapours and woodblock charm awaits the off piste explorer willing to step through
the arch and Visit Malphino, the debut album from this London based collective of
musicians and visual artists.
As source material of traditional Latin American music and cumbia, has over the
years, etched itself in the global tracks of music, London has simultaneously become
a meeting point and international canvas for new tropical concoctions. And it is the
capital that has provided the nourishment for Malphino to flourish – members of the
Malphino collective come from Japan, Malaysia, Colombia, France, Philippines and
the UK. It is testament to the open-minded nature of record label Lex (MF Doom,
BadBadNotGood, Kate Tempest) who has given Malphino a stage to transcend the
borders of Latin America and the London music venue where it all began.
The joyous, often frenetic, style of cumbia that Malphino have landed on, tips its hat
to the various denominations of modern cumbia movements worldwide yet carves its
own unique, transcendental spin on the genre. Reinterpreting the traditional
Colombian banda, playing organ, accordion and tuba, their sound integrates an array
of percussion and rhythms from either side of the Pacific ocean with a strong
emphasis on East-Asian folkloric traditions alongside the distinctive origins of
Brazilian forró, 1930’s Cuban rumba, Peruvian chicha and cumbia in a myriad of
styles.This heady mix of volcanic sounds is given extra potency by a fluid use of
electronic sequencing, with reverb and echo effects laced into the melodic lines and
vocals to recreate the dreamlike rapture of their magical island.