Sometimes a rhythm can tell us more than words ever could, and that’s exactly what the Toronto Tabla Ensemble’s “Dream Symposium” is all about. “Dream Symposium” carves out its own path to our hearts inside of a four minute, drum-focused jam that pours through the speakers like a raging river flooding over for the first time in a hundred years. If you’re a Canadian music buff, you’re aware of how important the work of the Toronto Tabla Ensemble has become in recent years, but even if you’re just a curious American listener who has heard some of the buzz about this collective, this single is required listening.
Right from the get-go in “Dream Symposium,” the Toronto Tabla Ensemble are using atmospheric components on the melodic end of the track to build up a lot of anxiety and uncertainness in the music that’s unfurling in slow-motion (at first). The stampede comes later, and with it a lot of relief from the tension that’s been bubbling up through the first act of the song. There’s no over the top theatrics in this single – even without them, it’s as powerful a composition as I’ve heard from a group of Canadians in 2019.
Melancholy lingers over the first third of this track, while the middle portion seems infected with malice, an angry pummel of the drums that only finds peace at the completion of the song, where a sense of found-freedom washes over everything in the music. If it were a painting it would be too much to look at in a single sitting, but in this creative form it’s just the right amount of violence, virtuosity and vitality boiled into a single that doesn’t ask a whole heck of a lot out of its audience in exchange for a wealth of interesting tones.
When listening to “Dream Symposium,” my mind can’t help but wander to the stage environment, where I can only imagine the Toronto Tabla Ensemble would be able to bring this composition to life with even more grandeur than they did within the four walls of a recording studio. I can see them finding a great deal of success in the United States if they were to play some select dates in venues that would acoustically accommodate their skillset, and furthermore, if they were able to reach the scores of listeners in the country who have been hungry for something this fascinating for a while.
I just got into the Toronto Tabla Ensemble over the summer, but to say that I’m officially hooked on their sound would be just too big an understatement for me to make. They’ve got something that almost no group in rock, hip-hop or pop currently possesses – a connection with the music and the minds of their listeners that most collectives would kill for (as any critic worth their sense will tell you). It’s not the most important release to drop this September, but I think “Dream Symposium” is a single that belongs in the spotlight around the world right now just the same.