One of the formative musical experiences of Portuguese, Lisbon-based sound artist-guitarist Abdul Moimême was a solo recital by double bass master Barre Phillips. However, the adolescent Moimême did not appreciate at that time Phillips answer about his sources of inspiration. Phillips told the young Moimême about the sunrise and birds singing and mentioned Igor Stravinsky. Since then, Moimême traveled around the world, studied architecture and returned to his hometown where he is an active in the fertile free-improvisation scene and has learnt that all life experiences are somehow reflected in the musical experience.
Exosphere expands Moimême's previous solo work. On Mekhaanu – La Forêt des Mécanismes Sauvages (InSub, 2011) the improvised music suggested a sonic ecosystem of its own, already incorporating the qualities of the surrounding space and atmosphere. Exosphere was recorded live in October 2015 in the 17th century Panteão Nacional, formerly known as the Church of Santa Engrácia, an exceptional example of Portuguese baroque architecture, as well as a space that challenges the performer with a 20 seconds reverberation. Panteão Nacional is where important Portuguese personalities are buried, including fado singer Amália Rodrigues. Exosphere was recorded during Escuta Profunda (deep listening in Portuguese) festival and do sound applying Pauline Oliveros ideas.
Moimême setting included two self-made electric guitars, amplified through a valve pre-amplifier and two speakers. All sounds were created with the aid of an Ebow, a gyroscope, couple of musical boxes and assorted objects. Moimême's free-associative 42-minute improvisation offers subtle layers of abstract and alien electronic soundscapes that employ beautifully the acoustic and architectural qualities of the Panteão Nacional. These vibrant soundscapes are sustained in the reverberating space, rich with nuanced feedback and rough industrial-concrete sounds, but eventually blended into each other. These fleeting soundscapes often sound as echoing dramatic human and urban commotion from distant, outer space. There are times that Moimême's stream of ideas reference the psychedelic, space music of early incarnation of Tangerine Dream or the early ambient music of Brian Eno, and at other times it sounds closer to the microtonal sonic searches of AMM and Keith Rowe. Exosphere is a transient and profound experience that is perfectly right for its time and for the Panteão Nacional architecture and atmosphere. A majestic sonic ecosystem.