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Sonic adventures to Malphino

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Malphino take you on a tropical adventure from this 4th May…

Malphino are an ‘outer-national’, mystical band who offer a uniquely Asian-influenced hypnotic cumbia. Based in London, the collective is made up of diaspora musicians and visual artists. Their debut album, ‘Visit Malphino’ will be released this 4th May and will take us on a tropical journey around a mystical island.

The band’s name, Malphino, fuses the nationalities of its founding members: ‘Mal’ bridges David’s Malasian origins with Alex’s Filipino- ‘Phino’- roots. Coming together in London in 2010 at the obscure Latin-oriented night started by Japanese percussionist Yu Sato, Alex and David would play reimaginings of Latin tracks as well as their own interpretations of Italian film soundtracks. This is where they met the other elements of Malphino, each adding their own touch until the creative bomb burst and birthed the seed which Malphino have built a whole abstract concept around: an otherworldly island paradise.

As the band have collectively developed, the idea has been embellished, forming a mythical cumbia island with currents from Japan, Colombia, Malasia, France, the Philippines and the UK. Malphino’s musicians and artists thus twist through the various electrocumbia movements existent around the globe to carve their own unique sound. Their upbeat yet mellow feel maps a range of percussion and rhythms from either side of the Pacific Ocean with audible emphasis on East-Asian folkloric traditions alongside the distinctive origins of Brazilian forró, samba and ‘80s Peruvian chicha.

Their debut album, ‘Visit Malphino’ takes us around the shores and jungles of their fantasy island, offering 17 tracks titled in both English (‘The Sleep Tree’) and Spanish (‘Mono Borracho’). Interludes are stepping stones guiding us from coast to coast, with soothing electric guitar and warming basslines guiding the ear on a dreamlike journey.

Traditional Colombian banda is reinterpreted with organ, accordion and tuba and a satisfyingly fluid use of electronic sequencing, rapturous reverb and futuristic echo effects lace together vintage, often psychedelic vocals, progressive melodic lines and tropical animal calls. The percussion is varied: the wood and metal of marimba and guacharaca accent subtle digital warblings, familiar accordion textures, voodoo vapours and woodblock charm. It is hard to resist the fun and intrigue of this tranquil and energising odyssey.

Look out for a visual escape to this surreal world, captured playfully in the album’s colourful cover art, which was created by two of the band’s members Yu and Alex, professional art directors.

Under London record label Lex (BBNG, Kate Tempest, Andrew Hung), Malphino have played multiple festivals and venues across the UK including Rich Mix, Hootananny’s, The Ritzy and Effra Social Club, as well as festival stages at Bestival, Secret Garden and Carnaval del Pueblo. Don’t miss them this Friday 20th April in Hackney, London where they will be performing at the ¡Cumbia de Papel! night alongside Brixton Cumbia Association and Samba Azul. Tickets here.

The album is available to pre-order at Rough Trade and to stream via Souncloud.

Free download of single ‘Molienda’ available here.