«Gabo Lora présente ses particules bien particulières» is the title of a recent (and compelling) review of Dominican-born musician and artist Gabo Lora by Jonathan Le Monnier (for La Face B). The article highlights Lora’s musical trajectory with particular attention (no pun intended) to two of his recent EPs Partículas and Pop. Le Monnier writes:
France is teeming with multicultural talents borne by influences from here, there, and elsewhere: poetry, languages, and (his)stories that intermingle and continue feeding into one another. This richness sometimes yields surprising, unexpected, and innovative results. This is the case, again, with Gabo Lora and his two EPs, released a few months apart, to our listening delight.
Having grown up in the Dominican Republic, Gabo was rocked by all the Caribbean culture and music from merengue to songs from Latin American telenovelas. But it was with the group Rita Indiana y los Misterios, in the 2000s, that he began to see how to reinvent this island musicality and to incorporate it into other genres. During this period, he created his first electronic music label Stereoptico. After living in New York, he settled permanently in France, participating in a multitude of sometimes rock but especially electro music projects. With this logic, he created (with Alex Mart) Papaya, a label that represents many DJs in Europe and Latin America. Returning to more personal music mixing styles, Pop emerged at the end of 2022.
With this three-track EP, Gabo laid the foundations for what gives this sound such a special flavor. “Luna” seems to be an introduction to this new era, where he takes the time to arrange all his ingredients in a circle around this new entity. Over soft electro bases, sounds and wandering melodies are successively added, creating the space and depth necessary for the expression of a benevolent force that is both dreamy and evanescent.
This track depicts the mental map of this EP, borrowed from the first feelings of freedom in a Dominican landscape surrounded by sand, and offering itself to the two infinities that are the sky and the sea. Eponymous track “Pop” continues this introspection with the deep desires of the musicians as a visceral promise to the music that animates it. With the rhythm of a bass like a heartbeat, this powerful song propels, with emotion, a sense of determination. A magnificent piece that gives wings; a successful takeoff that pierces the horizon. These impressions of youth obviously also dialogue with other more distressing ones, such as in “Cascabel,” but are just as important, because what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
In addition to these two founding stones that are Latin culture and electro, Gabo Lora has strongly imbued himself with a psychedelic pop-rock halfway between Radio Head, MGMT, or even Vangelis, which gives him both a melodious writing of the texts and transgressive instrumental freedom—the
whole forming a cocktail where everyone will find a flavor, a scent of reminiscence.
This month (January 2023) the artist offers us four additional titles with the same ability to meander between genres. Partículas establishes a rhythmic and fluid electro pop identity. Fluid like the spirit that, according to the opposing or growing winds, submits to, or tries to resist the [changing] environments. Therefore, this second EP dives into an inner, existential journey that faces the world, the crowd, and music.
Basses and synths form the dynamic duo—a foundation on which this organic music rests. Guitars and choruses lengthen the focal lengths; melodic structures fill the sails. Without ever fully understanding the nature of the force that pushes us, we let ourselves slide into this graceful spiral, like the piece “Partículas,” where we deconstruct down to the atom to better become part of the universal. One must give a special mention for the last title, “Gamma,” which combines all the best of this artist: rhythm in waves, scintillating solos, and a calm and powerful energy at the same time.
These are two particularly creative EPs, a mixture of genres and styles that are rarely heard, in short, a very promising experience that we will follow closely.
Translated by Ivette Romero. For the original article, in French, please visit https://www.danstafaceb.com/gabo-lora-pop-particulas/
Also see https://www.stereoptico.com/ and https://www.instagram.com/gaboloramusic/?hl=en
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