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Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 1226, March 23, 2020

Gabriel Dharmoo is a young composer, vocalist, improviser and researcher from Montréal, where he completed his studies in composition and analysis. He studied also Carnatic music and has an interest in cross-cultural and multi-traditional musical projects; a broad-minded and multi-talented performer and composer. He travelled the globe performing on many different festivals and also many of his compositions have been performed on most continents. He is “interested in the ambiguous space between reality and fiction, imagining the music of invented cultures”. On this debut solo album, we learn more about him as a composer, improviser and vocalist. The album entails seven works, composed between 2009 and 2019. All works are pure abstract non-verbal works, except Futile Spells that has partly bi-lingual vocals (French and English). This is the central and most lengthy piece on the album sung by a choir of nine vocalists (with some handclapping). This is a very dramatic work that illustrates his focus that I just quoted. One hears allusions of other vocal traditions from all over the globe, condensed in convincing and intelligent constructions that suggest some kind of fictional world music. This counts for all works on this release. The closing work. Vaai Irandu for example is a very Indian-flavored melodic work. Notre meute also echoes many cultural influences in an intriguing performance by the experimental voice ensemble Phth using a variety of techniques. The improvised works, Duo de Moogeon is a very intense duo of Dharmoo with Elizabeth Lima. Trompe de Cataimaans is a fantastic solo improvisation by Dharmoo. This is experimental on the one hand, but also very physical and human music. A fantastic album that brings joy!

This is experimental on the one hand, but also very physical and human music. A fantastic album that brings joy!

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