You’ll know by now that at TUSK we are suckers for a good drone and Grupi Lab from Albania offer a variation on that tonal fetish that’s completely new to us – the regional concept of isopolyphonic singing. The iso in the name represents the continual drone that runs beneath the polyphony of voices that ice this musical cake. Grupi Lab is a sextet from the south of the country that features 4 purveyors of the drone, one second and one lead voice, in this case the locally revered Golik Jaupi.
Isopolyphonic singing is a powerfully rousing form with tonal range and great depth – 6 strident male voices, a fat, resonant and bassy drone, the almost perplexing style of the second lead voice as he wordlessly fluctuates in tone and seems to harmonise with both the drone and the lead simultaneously, and then the soaring, heroic tones of the lead vocal. The sound of Grupi Lab really is a marvel to behold.