Mahmundi - Setembro EP

Setembro EP, Mahmundi
Independiente, Brazil
Rating: 75
by Souad Martin-Saoudi

Mahmundi is the musical project of singer songwriter and self-taught multi-instrumentalist Marcela Vale. The prodigy from Rio de Janeiro unlocks Setembro (the follow up to her first effort titled, Efeito das Cores), a fragmented collection of six tracks that condense and disperse in rhythm with the tides. The amalgam of atmospheric synths, well-calculated guitar splashes and haunting drum machine beats creates an impressive landslide her husky and sensuous voice breaks against, commanding a constant yet hurried side-to-side movement of the whole body. Introspection and fortitude could be Mahmundi’s credo - 'Mah' being a nickname of Marcela and 'Mundi' a derivation of 'Mundo', meaning 'world', something like 'Marcela’s world'.

The EP’s opening number and first single off, “Vem - {Selah}” perfectly embodies the artist’s premise. “Vem, me dê uma dança, me dê um abraço, vê se não se cansa, segura o meu braço, eu te levanto, caso o cansaço, venha te puxar pra baixo, dos lençóis” she declares in the first lines of the song as the sharp drum machine and synth feed a dark and contemplative soundscape on the verge of tropical and industrial. Vale’s take on becoming a better person while finding inner peace and serenity acts as a balm on the electronic undertows of co-producer Lucas Paiva. With “Preludio” and “Quase Sem Querer” Vale's lyrics navigate even further in her land-locked sea of confession and nostalgia, all with an '80s breeze in its sails.

We then reach “Arpoador," where Vale makes us disembark to admire one of the most beautiful sunsets in Rio de Janeiro. Her breathy inflections, that echo the works of iconic figures and role models Marina Lima and Rita Lee, are reassuring. The sadness that overwhelmed us in the early morning is now unraveling itself in the water and sun of Arpoador. Simple, crystalline words swirl and fold back into the emotional ebb and flow of Mahmundi. The title song, with its autotune incursion, exudes a gentle wistfulness. Vale’s voice is meant to reverberate ad infinitum. The 25 minutes EP closes with “Leve”, a stripped-down (scaled down) track on which she accompanies herself on the guitar, revealing her strength as a composer. Till the release of a proper full-length, you can download Setembro HERE.