Ricarda Cometa

Ricarda Cometa 2

A revelation outta thin air, courtesy of this dazzlingly trigonometrical spritz of minimal rock clang from Buenos Aires

Do Ricarda Cometa – Peruvian guitarist Jorge Espinal and Argentinian drummer Tatiana Heuman – have kindred spirits, groups who they can buddy up with on a bill and not jut out like a peninsula? I mean, that’s not so much a rhetorical question as me hoping someone reading knows, because this duo’s micromanaged flights of no(w) wave fancy feel like a window on a new world.

Ricarda Cometa 2 is wholly instrumental, but its arrangements are lyrical and florid. Heuman can play like a proto-free jazzer or Valerie Scroggins from ESG, frequently in the same movement; Espinal shreds the demarcation between rhythm and melody with a playing style that compares to Captain Beefheart, Bill Orcutt, Arto Lindsay and, especially, US Maple’s Mark Shippy. For ‘Bbancá, Tu Tranquilo’, the album’s longest song at just under four minutes, he pitches up for a bout of blunt plucking that sounds influenced by Ghanaian kologo music, while ‘Echando Unos Taquitos’ progresses, almost cartoonishly, from a shy and tentative intro to some basement-This Heat thud-whizzery whose style I simply must call the Espinal Tap.

Having also dug in to the first Ricarda Cometa album, from 2013 and recorded as a trio, this sequel – at 23 minutes long, lean rather than slender – is comparable in the length of its stride to Trout Mask Replica’s away from Safe As Milk. I’m not party to the reasons why Luciano Vitale, the group’s second guitarist, left, but the style Espinal has developed in the interim is creative and multi-directional enough to do the work of two, and he and Heuman equal one of the most exciting duos doing the rounds in 2018.

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