Mabe Fratti’s new album Será Que Ahora Podremos Entendernos (which roughly translates as “Only now shall we understand each other”) is a breath-taking journey through a land that feels equally familiar and alien. It’s the second album from Guatemalan Cellist Fratti, and had its creation rooted in a trip to La Orduña, an artist space in an old factory outside of Mexico City and like a lot of music in the last 18 months it was created in lockdown. A month in La Orduña gave Fratti the space and inspiration to improvise and allow the cello to be the fertile soil from which she could grow nine soundscapes which incorporate many cello techniques (Legato, staccato etc.) which create everything from shimmer to the feeling of time elongating. Surrounding this cello-core are electronic effects and acoustic instruments that swarm and orbit each track to create rich ambient moods and Fratti’s entrancing voice is used both conventionally and as another instrument.
Tracks run from the sweetly pastoral openers ‘Nadie Sabe’ and ‘Mil Formas de Decirlo’, to ‘Aire’ which uses drones, loops and rotation to create a pleasantly queasy feeling. ‘Hacia el Vacío’ is one of the more conventional tracks on the album but still features field recordings of birds and rain alongside electronic interference. ‘Cuerpo de Agua’ floats sublimely, never quite finding a foothold on solid ground, and ‘En Medio’ could easily sit in a David Lynch soundtrack. Of the more leftfield compositions, there is ‘Inicio vínculo Final’ which glitters like an ice cave with its sharply fuzzed notes, ‘Que Me Hace Saber Esto’ which oscillates with electronic effervescence and sounds like an underwater helicopter journey, or the final track ‘Un día cualquiera’ which is a conversation between the bow and the cello that involves bouncing and scraping as if they are trying to work out a new language.
Será Que Ahora Podremos Entendernos is an album that works as a micro or macrocosm. It feels like we have been either shrunk to a microscopic size and sent off travelling through a strange world of molecules and chemical reactions, or sent the opposite direction out into space to witness collapsing stars or vast clouds of interstellar gases. There’s something about the cello which, I feel, is close in resonance to the human voice, a similar frequency that imbues it with warmth and a sense of home. On this album it is the Sun which sits at the centre of a solar system that is both comforting and challenging, but will keep me coming back to float around and lose myself for a long time to come.
Review by Paul F Cook