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Abdul Moimeme: Exosphere

Karl Ackermann By

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Portuguese native Abdul Moimême moved to Dublin, Ireland, by way of New Mexico, at an early age. Something of a renaissance man, he studied guitar as a youth and later took up tenor saxophone with instruction from the cutting edge reed player Patrick Brennan. In between, he managed to study architecture in Boston, finalizing his degree in Lisbon. Moimême has also been writing for Portuguese jazz publications for almost twenty years. He is not well known in the States but has performed to appreciative audiences throughout Europe and in South America.

Exosphere is the follow up to Mekhaanu—La Forêt des Mécanismes Sauvages (Insubordinations Netlabel, 2013) and like that album, Exosphere features Moimême on his two home-made electric guitars, enhancers and assorted sound devices. The sole track is the forty-one-minute title track. Much of what Moimême does here is a product of reverberation and what he does with that reverberation is remarkable. Listen at the sixteen-minute mark in and you'll hear something akin to a muted blast of trumpets. Further in there is the jangle of chimes and later still the approximation of piano keys. All these peripheral effects lie within a broader universe that is indeterminate in nature. Rarely does Moimême incorporate a guitar-like dynamic—he plays his two custom guitars simultaneously using an electronic bow, amplified through a pre-amp and two speakers. He utilizes a gyroscope, music boxes and other objects to create an otherworldly soundscape.

Exosphere was recorded live at The Church of Santa Engrácia—now the Panteão Nacional—a 17th-century monument in Lisbon. The music can't be described in literal terms, nor is it meant to be. Moimême has developed a method of making reverberation into an instrument that can stand alone. As a narrative Exosphere is both allegorical and conversant, always leading to another destination but never being obvious about where Moimême intends to set down. In fact, the artist travels through backdrops that are only familiar enough to invite a double-take, a bit of misperception about the source of a sound or the direction it is coming from. There is some intangible quality to Moimême's composition that makes one want to listen repeatedly. Exosphere is an extraordinarily unique and highly enjoyable album.

Title: Exosphere | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Creative Sources Recordings

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