The sonic universe (for surely it appears so vast that it can only be referred to as that) of Exosphere pushes, at the hands of Abdul Moimême, the electric guitar to its limits, curving, reflecting, refracting, cutting up and extending its soundscape not only by the use of an Ebow and assorted valve amplifiers and other electrical devices. However, the manner in which all of this captures the environs of the interior architecture of the Panteão Nacional in Lisbon, embedding every nook and cranny and every crack in its vaunted ceiling is equally significant. Each shred of sound and its echo tears through the silence, elbowing great walls of this silence out of the way to make way for new elements and groups of sound.
This live recording made in real-time is the creation of a monumental, pulseless music made up of great blocks of seemingly static, but subtly changing, textures whose component parts flow seamlessly in and out of each other. Exosphere is the recreation of the rarefied realm at the furthest end of what we know of our planet and captures the mad ramblings of atomic activity in a musical palette that is hot and cold, lurid and black. It begins with a series of sliding chords covering several octaves played by manipulation of the guitars’ strings and seemingly also magically simulating the sound of winds. The procession of chordal activity is seemingly endless as sounds are entered and withdrawn from the great void of the Panteão Nacional by Abdul Moimême.
The impact of this piece, Exosphere is overwhelming: one moment it seems to evoke a vast wheezing organ, another a swarm of demented bees. Texture is everything: there are no silences (except for the ones displaced by the sound); instead the music is punctuated by a series of enormous crescendos. Chord clusters – shredded of course – are built up in overlapping layer. There is still a sense of sculpted sound but the combination of instrumental timbres is often radiantly beautiful, suggesting something bejewelled and glowing. For everyone who could not be at its creation this excellent recording by John Klima, mix by Abdul Moimême and mastering by Joaquim Monte brings it all back to life again. The visceral excitement is palpable throughout.
Track list – Exosphere
Personnel – Abdul Moimême: prepared electric guitars, Ebow and devices.
Released – 2017
Label – Creative Sources Recordings
Runtime – 43:02