It’s not often you come across an album with such ambition and emotional scope. Tamil Rogeon (The Raah Project, Harvey Sutherland & Bermuda, True Live), one of Australia’s most daring and innovative composers, has created an album of cinematic beauty and groove from the bleakest of starting points, the killing of a young Aussie on his 30th birthday in the Rio district of Lapa by an off-duty Brazilian cop.
These are twelve tracks that work perfectly alone but it is truer to say this is a song cycle, each piece adding depth and further exploration to the previous. Rogeon has gone deep on this. A longtime fan of Brazilian music, he grabbed his violin and began the project by heading to Rio, immersing himself in the culture and recording a percussion section led by Tiago Loei. Once home in Melbourne, Rogeon then recorded his score with Orchestra Victoria plus additional instrumentation including guitar and cavaquinho from Brazilian-trained master Doug de Vries.
Next up was to bring in the vocalists and he doesn’t miss a trick with Heidi Vogel (Cinematic Orchestra), Krystle Warren, MC Raashan Ahmad, Raah partner Ryan Ritchie, crooner Bobby Valentine and Ella Thompson (GL, The Bamboos) adding more tonal and emotional weight to this funky meditation on life and loss.
Finally mixed with his electronic producer hat on, Rogeon has created something unlike anything I’ve heard before. In isolation, some of the tracks, the samba funk of ‘Evening’ or the breezy maracatu of ‘Does Nothing End?’ with Krystle Warren’s deep soulful tones are perfect dancefloor fodder. A personal standout track ‘Jealousy’ is fresh as hell hip hop featuring a snarling rap from Raashan Ahmad, in your face orchestral strings and bumping Brazilian percussion, guitars and cuicas. At times, there is the feeling of immersion inside an epic movie, the pre-tragedy atmosphere set by ‘Mid Morning’ and ‘It Won’t Come 31’ segueing into the closer ‘O Último Suspiro’ are beautiful examples of the composer’s arranging chops.
It is as a whole, however, that we receive the album’s full majesty, a story, a meditation and a monument to a stranger who in death inspired something quite astounding. This 10 year labour of love has just been released on Ennio Styles’ (the Oz equivalent of Gilles Peterson) imprint Heard and Felt so If you’re a fan of Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Carlos Nino's ‘Suite For Ma Dukes’, Arthur Verocai or Cinematic Orchestra, then this is a must for you.
The album launch will be on 28th April at legendary Fitzroy venue The Night Cat, providing a rare opportunity to witness an orchestra in a nightclub setting. 24 Hours in Lapa will be performed in full with the Australian Youth Orchestra.
Grab the album here!
Words by Ex-Friendly