World Circuit / Nonesuch
When they released their debut album Rumba Argelina, Radio Tarifa were really not so much a band as a studio concept devised by producer, composer and percussionist Fain Dueñas, flautist Vincent Molina and singer Benjamin Escoriza. They achieved a huge, full band sound via lots of overdubs and guest performers. But the success of that album and its related tours forced a change in the band that leads us to this, a small orchestra that is both fuller in concept and, strangely, less lush and opulent, more gritty than its predecessor.
Whereas Rumba Argelina was a pan-Mediterranean experiment, Temporal focuses on the flamenco (think Terremoto de Jerez, not Ottmar Liebert), what Dueñas refers to as "deep flamenco." It is rooted in the many and diverse cultures of Spain, from the African horizon of Andalusia to the northern Celtic roots of Galicia and most points in between. The expanded ensemble includes all manner of percussion, violins, bagpipes and reeds, some truly funky bass playing, ouds and guitars. The centerpiece of most of the songs is Escoriza's voice, and it is a mighty instrument of soaring highs and gravel-road lows. Together they explore 13th Century songs and modern instrumentals, creating a personal vision of the history of flamenco and the rest of Spanish music. Temporal does not have the cinematic scope of its predecessor. It chooses a tighter focus, a little more in the face attitude, a dusty beauty that is equally compelling. - CF