It’s rare to listen to music that’s truly different. The stuff that transports you to another world, taking you out of your comfort zone and making you wonder why you don’t listen to more music like it. But that’s just what happened when I listened to 24 Hours in Lapa, the debut solo album from Melbourne composer Tamil Rogeon.

I call it an album, but it seems like so much more than that. Perhaps opus is a more appropriate term. The press release calls is a “mesmerising 12-part song cycle built on Brazilian rhythms, an orchestral score, and subtle electronics.” It’s all these things and more.

24 Hours in Lapa tells the story of Joseph Martin, a young expat who was shot dead in Rio’s party district, Lapa, when he intervened in a mugging. He was celebrating his 30th birthday that fateful night. This musical collection uses the story of this man’s final hours to meditate on themes of vice, impetuosity, and life cut too short.

It’s an ambitious work for one’s first solo effort, but Tamil Rogeon is no stranger to the music scene. He’s part of the orchestral jazz group The RAah Project and the disco/house/funk trio Harvey Sutherland & Bermuda. He’s also been behind a tribute to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, performed by a 100-piece orchestra, a soundtrack to a concern screening of the drawn 2010 AFL grand final, and the Red Bull Beat Suite.

For 24 Hours in Lapa, Tamil Rogeon works with Orchestra Victoria and a host of talented vocalists. The result is quite simply incredible. The blend of Brazilian samba and orchestral elements in opening track “De Manha” intrigued me. But as I was introduced to more of the entirely instrumental numbers, 24 Hours in Lapa began feeling like the soundtrack for a Broadway musical. There’s a theatricality about it that’s familiar, although the exotic Latin beats make it feel fresh.

By the time I heard “Does Nothing End?” with sublime vocals from Krystle Warren, I was hooked. This magical, joyous song is so different from “Jealousy,” an edgy rapid-fire hip hop track featuring Raashan Ahmad which comes just a couple of numbers later, but this too is strong. Krystle Warren proves again to be a revelation with “Living in a Dream.” I love her rich tone, which reminds me a little of Nina Simone’s with its commanding presence.

24 Hours in Lapa comes together like a rich tapestry. It has stunning elements that can be appreciated on their own, but it’s when you look at the entire work that you’re truly struck by its impact. It certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I encourage you to take a chance on it.