Axel Filip’s Maleza Delivers a Captivating Musical Journey

Written by | CD Reviews, News, Reviews

In the current deluge of new recordings it’s rare to come across an album that is not only impactful but also as adventurous and eclectic as the new album from Argentine drummer Axel Filip. Titled Habitat, Filip’s latest album is a collaboration with the Berlin-based multinational ensemble Maleza, and can be seen as a testament to his musical prowess and ability to draw inspiration from diverse life experiences.

Joining Filip on the recording is an international line-up featuring Slovenian vocalist Mirna Bogdanovi, French cellist Mathilde Vendramin, Norwegian pianist Joakim Rainer, and German bassist Lisa Hoppe. Axel Filip and Maleza have crafted a collection of compositions that weave together modern jazz and Argentinian influences, resulting in an engaging and emotive musical journey.

Axel’s creative journey for this album traversed several locations, from Gent to California, Stockholm to Berlin, and many more. These contrasting landscapes and experiences have left an indelible mark on the music, creating a rich tapestry of cultural and personal influences that resonate throughout the album.

The opening track, “Adrift,” sets the tone for the album with its dreamy and introspective composition. Mirna Bogdanovic’s vocals blend seamlessly with the cello’s deep tones, while Joakim Rainer’s piano solo adds a layer of depth to the piece. “Adrift” is a contemplative, medium-tempo composition that evokes a sense of hopefulness and optimism despite its introspective mood. “Lastima, a nadie,” the second track, pays homage to Argentina’s iconic figure, Diego Maradona, and delves into themes of loss and regret. The song’s modern jazz structure and Mirna Bogdanovic’s emotive vocals make it a standout piece on the album, showcasing the musicians’ technical and creative abilities.

“Habitat,” the third track, is a dynamic composition that blends rhythmic complexity with an oniric mood. It’s a brief but powerful track that captures the listener’s attention with its unique musical structure. “Arrival,” the fourth track, explores the emotions associated with migration processes and adaptation to new environments. The melodic hook and collective improvisation in this song highlight the ensemble’s ability to create engaging musical experiences.

The fifth track, “Dark Black,” presents a sense of nostalgia and longing through a dialogue between cello and vocals. The depth of emotion in this piece is palpable, drawing the listener into its melancholic atmosphere. While in contrast “Synecdoche,” the sixth track, is an exuberant celebration of resilience and gratitude. Its almost danceable rhythm and upbeat energy offer a refreshing perspective on life’s challenges.

Also of note are tracks such as “The Counselor,” that showcases the ensemble’s versatility with contrasting sections and standout solos and the eighth track on the album, “Your Name,” that draws inspiration from Argentine folklore and showcases Axel’s creative drumming. The combination of vocals, cello, and drums creates a deeply evocative and emotive piece.

Closing out the album is “Ruminant,” that offers a contemplative reflection on our world’s state and the impact of capitalism. The interplay between cello and vocals creates a dynamic listening experience.

In conclusion, Axel Filip’s collaboration with ensemble Maleza presents a compelling and diverse musical journey. The album showcases Axel’s ability to draw inspiration from his experiences and blend various musical traditions into a cohesive whole. While it may not rely on excessive superlatives, the music speaks for itself—evocative, introspective, and filled with emotion. This album is a testament to the power of cross-cultural collaboration and the ability of music to convey complex emotions and stories. It’s a must-listen for anyone looking to embark on a captivating musical adventure.

Axel Filip – drums | Mirna Bogdanovic, vocals | Mathilde Vendramin, cello | Joakim Rainer, piano | Lisa Hoppe, double-bass

Track Listing:
1. Adrift | 2. Lástima, a nadie | 3. Habitat | 4. Arrival 5. Dark black | 6. Synecdoche | 7. The Counselor | 8. Your name | 9. Ruminant | 10. Gait of power

Release Date: 29 October 2023
Format: CD | Streaming
Label: Unit Records


Last modified: December 3, 2023