Boomkat Product Review:
Prolific, multi-faceted percussionist, improviser and collaborator Valentina Magaletti follows her recent showing as a member of Moin with this excellent new album for the Blume label - a spellbinding improvisation of dervishing sticks and haunting knife-edge tension on the label’s first release in two years.
With a catalogue of probing contemporary classical and avant-garde experiments by Alvin Lucier, Mary Jane Leach, Julius Eastman, Jocy de Oliveria and more, Blume’s mapping of modernity pinpoints Magaletti’s inimitable and sprawling practice at the edge of the known world with ’Rotta.’ Playing to the residual energies of an empty Cafe Oto during an interim of lockdowns in October 2020, Magaletti channels a rich reservoir of percussive disciplines and humming electronics into a half hour salvo of rapturous immanence.
Mystifyingly switching between rain splash patter, sonorous harmonic reverbs and swingeingly intricate, muscular roll-outs with a relentless freedom of style, the London-based Italian artist colours her canvas with a pointillist abstraction of space and time that masterfully bends listeners’ proprioceptive and temporal senses, linking atavistic feelings to the complexities of West African, Middle Eastern, South x South East Asian and European percussive traditions, and how they’ve fed into the templates of c.20th jazz and avant rock, punk and beyond.
Revelatory stuff for even the most ardent acolyte of jazz, folk and avant dimensions, you’d be forgiven for mistaking ‘Rotta’ for the work of more than one musician. Magaletti’s grasp of the kit and space surrounding her is just astonishing, creating the illusion of duelling batteries in dialogue, when, in fact, it’s just her speaking to the room in a polymetric language, blending sonar-like spatial perceptions and instrumental narration in-the-moment to make her drums and the room tell a story.
Decades of knowledge are transmuted into rhythmatic wisdom; the hands of tutors, other players, the pulses of everyday life - from the infrasound of traffic, alarm of a reversing lorry, the overspill of sodden guttering or yelp of a dog - animate every tendon-sleight of swing, shuffle, and perpetually resolving rhythmic anticipation. ‘Rotta’ ultimately pays testament to Magaletti as a uniquely attentive listener as much as an ambidextrous performer, with care paid to the macro as much as nanoscopic and metaphysical dimensions in results bound to unveil hidden new details with every listen.