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EX:RE

Ex-Easter Island Head

Norther

    In meteorology, the word Norther refers to a cold wind that blows down from the north. For Liverpool’s Ex-Easter Island Head, it’s also an apt title for the strange and multi-faceted sound of their new album that now descends upon the world at large: ever shifting, a multiplicity of sounds both acoustic and manipulated, and yet one that still moves as part of a single mighty breeze. At times it might recall the experiments of Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca, the widescreen beauty of The Necks, the relentless experimentation of Arnold Dreyblatt or the boundary-pushing roster of Kompakt Records, yet ultimately this is music that has no direct compare.

    Each of its six pieces demonstrates a different creative process. On blossoming opener ‘Weather’, whirring motors dance fairy-like atop strings and drums; on the dizzying ‘Magnetic Language’ voices are played back through phones and amplified through pickups made of magnets wrapped in copper wire; the title of ‘Golden Bridges’ refers to the brass rods the band shift beneath the strings of their guitar. All, however, tap to one degree or another into that abiding theme of the weather. Norther is Ex-Easter Island Head’s first studio album since 2016, a time spent on collaborations and one-off performances with everyone from classical musicians and fellow experimentalists to schoolchildren.

    “All of the projects we were involved in between 2016 and 2024 have expanded the boundaries of what we do by exposing us to a huge variety of instruments, personalities and ways of working. It's really allowed us to see the purity of making music with a four-piece group,” says the band’s Benjamin D. Duvall.That status as a quartet is a new one, with the addition of longstanding friend and collaborator Andrew PM Hunt. Having a member of the band handling recording and mixing helped them push further and further into sonic territory that until Norther remained entirely unexplored – not just by Ex-Easter Island Head, but by any other band on earth. 

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Weather
    2. Norther
    3. Easter
    4. Magnetic Language
    5. Golden Bridges
    6. Lodestone

    808 State

    Ex:el - National Album Day 2023 Edition

      Originally released in 1991, ex:el was the third studio album by 808 State, and the last to feature founding member Martin Price. The album contains guest vocals from Bernard Sumner of New Order in the single ‘Spanish Heart’, and Björk with ‘Qmart’ and ‘Ooops’, paving the way for early concepts of modern electronic music. The release comes as a limited-edition 140-gram blue vinyl.

      TRACK LISTING

      Side A
      San Francisco
      Spanish Heart
      Leo Leo
      Side B
      Qmart
      Nephatiti
      Lift
      Side C
      Ooops
      Empire
      In Yer Face
      Side D
      Cübik
      Lambrusco Cowboy
      Techno Bell
      Olympic

      The Ex

      Dignity Of Labour - Reissue

        Originally released as a 4x7" box in 1983.

        First time on vinyl LP.

        With all original artwork, A2 poster and 16- page photo-booklet.

        "This package continues the dance of the dispossessed, with a thick atmospheric reconstruction of a factory’s death... The ultimate urban blues, a soundtrack that sounds like a manic collision between Neubauten and the Gang Of Four.Hammer hard beats with an ever present human touch throb along mechanically. Man and machine in perfect harmony you might say..”

        Venus Ex Machina

        Lux

        It's the new year and time for a new sound, so give this winner from Whities alumni Venus Ex Machina a go. Assembled out of digital incantations, choral ambience, layered electronics and no input mixer scree, this warped and weird fusion of gnarly EBM, tough techno and out-there electronica is billed as a requiem for an Earth beset by environmental change. 
        Upon an initial listen to the squirming acid and rabid drum boxes of "Quaraquara", I was pretty sure I'd missed my meds this morning, and by the middle of the eerie "Paraquat" the paranoia had seriously taken hold. Still, the polyrhythms and 303 of "Nacht" are on hand to help you dance your troubles away before "Mysterium" and "Grace" offer a little EBM and techno respectively. 'Elephant' serves precise percussion and subtle sound design, before 'Bloodmoon' and 'Avril' sign off with otherworldly ambience. Deep and dope folks.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: Tessellating between techno, industrial, EBM and electronica, the menacing 'Lux' is the perfect soundtrack for life right now. Totally fucked in the most appropriate way.

        TRACK LISTING

        Quaraquara
        Paraquat
        Nacht
        Mysterium
        Grace
        Elephant
        Bloodmoon
        Avril

        Round

        Days - Inc. John Talabot / Ex-Terrestrial / Fit Siegel Remixes

          'Days' is like no other track Round has produced to date. For a start, it's the first song he has ever written without using samples. It's also the first time he's worked with a vocalist. Truth is that everything surrounding the track's conception is somehow exceptional. The melody came to Torsten as a sudden spark, which he discretely hummed into his phone while walking in Assistens Cemetery in Copenhagen. "I always feel an urge to make music when I feel emotional, and like many other people I remember the emotional periods in my life", he recalls when questioned about what inspired him of that particular time and space. He then asked danish singer Astrid Engeberg to record vocals and after some work with the laptop the song was born. So simple, so special. The three remixes manage to be faithful to the original's haunting oddness while offering radically different takes on it. First off John Talabot pushes it into slow and sludgey mollusc break territories with a shamanic translation, then Ex-Terrestrial offers a sedated IDM interpretation for fans of BOC etc, finally the Fit Siegel gets his music box on with a deranged bit of technofunk.

          TRACK LISTING

          A1. Days
          A2. Days (John Talabot Skoooldub Remix)
          B1. Days (Ex-Terrestrial Remix)
          B2. Days (Fit Siegel's Bow Legged Mix)

          Karl Hector And The Malcouns

          Non Ex Orbis

            Kraut-jazz-rock produced by JJ Whitefield (Poets of Rhythm/Whitefield Brothers). The long-standing band’s third album. Featuring Marja Burchard (Embryo). Download card for WAV files included. It’s been over ten years since Karl Hector and the Malcouns’ Sahara Swing saw release on Now-Again in 2008. The album swung with influences from across the African diaspora and set the stage for a cult, but influential following. Hermes designer Christophe Lemaire picked tracks from Karl Hector and The Malcouns as amongst his favorites in the Now-Again catalog, and included them on his Where Are You From anthology. Festival promoters intrigued by the possibility of resurrecting the careers of once forgotten African mavericks – from Ghana’s Ebo Taylor to the progenitors of Zambia’s Zamrock scene – brought Hector and crew across Europe playing festivals for ecstatic fans.

            Producer JJ Whitefield even founded an Afro-Rock band, Johnny!, with Taylor’s son Henry. Unstraight Ahead, their sophomore release from 2014, found the band exploring territories even outside of the expansive scope of Sahara Swing: West African sounds of Ghana and Mali met the East African sounds of Mulatu Astatke’s Ethiopian jazz, tied together with the groove heavy experimentalism of The Malcouns’ 70s Krautrock godfathers: Can, of course, but also more obscure and equally adventurous groups like Agitation Free, Ibliss and Tomorrow’s Gift. “We look to Middle Eastern funk and psychedelic fusions, and to various ethnic records for sound and phrasing,” Whitefield stated at the time of Unstraight Ahead’s release. “We’re trying to combine the global experimentalism of Krautrock with the backbeat of funk.” Non Ex Orbis, the band’s third studio album, digs deeper into the Krautrock history embedded deep in the soil of their native Munch - three of the most influential bands of the 1970s experimental German rock scene spurng from there: Amon Düül, Popol Vuh and Embryo.

            Influenced by these musical heroes, Whitefield shapes a sound that takes the experimental approach of the classic Krautrock era and slides between beat-heavy drone and spacey, prog-rock suites. Marja Burchard, daughter of Embryo mastermind Christian Burchard, fronts the group on keyboard, vibraphone and other-worldly vocals. Al Markovic joins longstanding Malcoun Zdenko Curilija to round out the ensemble. Non Ex Orbis, read by Whitefield and the band as Out Of This World, symbolizes an innocent way of composing and improvising music, free from the influences of our contemporary environment, preserving a childlike way of hearing sounds in their unfiltered purity. “Some will classify this as a retro, but for the band it simply is a form of creating, Whitefield states. “We’re drawing from an established musical vocabulary which was popular at a time in Germany, when underground musical culture had its creative peak”. 

            TRACK LISTING

            A1. Non Ex Orbis
            A2. Crawling Through Your Mind
            A3. Hymnin5 (Extended)
            A4. Stossgebet
            B1. Asteroid
            B2. Inhale / Exhale
            B3. Mother Seletta
            B4. Dekagon

            On It’s Real, the group’s second album, Ex Hex’s commitment to larger-than-life riffs and unforgettable hooks remains intact, but the garage-y, post-punk approach that defined their debut album Rips has grown in scale and ambition. What started as a reaction to the blown-out aesthetic of Rips would test the sonic limits of the power trio and lead the band on a quest for a more immersive and three-dimensional sound. Vocal harmonies are layered ten tracks deep, solos shimmer and modulate atop heaving power chords, and the codas linger and stretch toward new frontiers of sound. On first listen, you might think you’ve unearthed a long-lost LP carved from the space where crunch-minded art rock and glitter-covered hard rock converge, an event horizon at the intersection of towering choruses and swaggering guitars.

            Ex Hex were already one of America’s best guitar bands—but on It’s Real, their musical savvy has thrillingly combined with anything-goes curiosity, studio experimentation, and a dedication to refinement, resulting in an album that’s ready to be played at maximum volume.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: Ex hex return with their most incendiary offering yet. Blazing hooks and huge rock choruses, encompassing that huge 70's rock sound with all of the best pomp and stadium grandiosity chucked in for good measure. TURN IT UP

            TRACK LISTING

            SIDE A
            Tough Enough
            Rainbow Shiner
            Good Times
            Want It To Be True
            Diamond Drive

            SIDE B
            No Reflection
            Another Dimension
            Cosmic Cave
            Radiate
            Talk To Me

            Elena Tonra, guitarist, vocalist and lyricist of Daughter, has announced details of a solo project. Running parallel to Daughter, she’s assumed the pseudonym Ex:Re (pronounced ex ray) for her eponymously-titled debut solo album, a deeply personal record that was made with both a sense of urgency and a cathartic need. Just finished, it’s being released with equal speed and will be out digitally on 30th November

            Tonra’s candid solo songs document the time after a relationship ended and are written like unsent letters to herself and others. Taking on a creative moniker, she chose Ex:Re to mean ‘regarding ex’ and also ‘X-Ray’ as a way to look inside and see what is really there. Writing took a year but the recording process lasted mere months, turning to Fabian Prynn (4AD’s in-house engineer and producer) and composer Josephine Stephenson on cello to help bring Ex:Re to life.

            Elena said of the album, “Although the record is written for someone, a lot of the time it’s about the space without that person in it. In every scenario, there's either the person in memory or the noticeable absence of that person in the present moment. I suppose it is a break-up record, however I do not talk about the relationship at all, and he hardly features in the scenes. He is only felt as a ghostly presence.”

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: Daughter were one of the most refreshing bands to come out a good few years ago, and this Solo album from haunting voiced singer, Elena Tonra is a beautiful and comfortingly different outlet for her undeniable vocal and songwriting talents. Beautiful.

            TRACK LISTING

            Where The Time Went
            Crushing
            New York
            Romance
            The Dazzler
            Too Sad
            Liar
            I Can't Keep You
            5AM
            My Heart

            Kolsch

            Speicher 106

              The year could not be complete without having a new release from the man behind the hat - KÖLSCH. He returns to Speicher following a phenomenal year of touring that took his DJing from the top of the Eifel Tower to the main stage of Tomorrowland. For "Speicher 106", he takes an unexpected turn with "Emoticon", weaving metallic percussion and woody found sounds into an irresistible off kilter rhythm (think Powder or Don't DJ), then letting loose with a buzzing and bruising bassline. The result is an unconventionally unique groove odyssey with a sublime cinematic breakdown for the sophisticated dancers out there. On the flip,"Little Death" is anything but tragic or small. A choir chant explodes atop an enchanting minimal house beat which elevates over time to an almighty apex that we have learned to love and rely on from KÖLSCH.

              TRACK LISTING

              A. Emoticon
              B. Little Death

              Funkycan aka Am Kinem teams up with Max Gee, while Money $ex regulars Imyrmind & Delphonic join Glenn Astro and Lonny Benz for a jam packed Money $ex outing. "Steiermark2017" is by Funkycan 7 & Graef and is a techno track made with a DR-550 and the crumar performer. It weaves and winds with slightly discordant melodies as fizzy, saturated drums pop and spurt. Glenn and Max drop the sub heavy and highly trickski, "No Tricks Dub". Thick walls of bass and intricately programmed tribal rhythms are order of the day as the pair conjure up a track similar to Paul Daly's cult remix of Jose Padilla's "Adios Amigo" - excellent! Delphonic & Astro provide the EPs crowning glory (in my opinion), a gentle propullsive, percussive glider that sounds like it's been ripped off a Sued record and should wins fans across the board with its delicate but engrossing sounds. Finally Imyrmind collaborates with Lonny Benz for the disjointed club attack that is "DID" - a juddering assault of drums embellished with subtle analogue nuances. A belter here from all involved, most recommended. 

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Matt says: I'll be honest, Money $ex doesn't always do it for me (then what does?! - ed) but this doozy from the allstars of the label has kept me more than entertained. Interesting sounds, intricate rhythms and experimental arrangements all keeping me hooked. Top one.

              TRACK LISTING

              A1. Funkycan 7 Max Graef - Steiermark2017
              A2. Max Graef & Glenn Astro - No Tricks Dub
              B1. Glenn Astro & Delphonic - Riddim Fur Die Atzen
              B2. Imyrmind & Lonny Benz - D.I.D

              The Duke Spirit

              Sky Is Mine

                Following 2016's acclaimed album KIN and EP Serenade, The Duke Spirit march on with poignant new album Sky Is Mine. Produced by the band themselves, and mixed by Bruno Ellingham (Massive Attack), it also features guest vocals by long time friends Josh T Pearson (Lift to Experience) on the woozy How Could, How Come, and Duke Garwood on album closer Broken Dream. Each song approaches, revises, steps back and looks for humanity on a planetary scale. From the shimmering melodies and prodigious power of tracks like ‘Magenta’ and ‘See Power’ to the energy-fuelled psychedelic rock of ‘Houses’ and ‘Yoyo’, the album flows with a dark, beguiling grandeur with the majestic allure of Liela Moss’ crystal vocals. Sky Is Mine looks at Harm, Control and Lack of love but burns through it to find the essential human heart. Talking about the inspiration behind the album, front-woman Liela Moss explains: “With feet cold and wet from standing in the sludgy shit of rhetoric, illegitimacy and fear that is the world we tread upon, the album snapshots a palpitating love that bursts with, and values, Life. Half-finished sentences, which describe shards of arrogance, egomania and cruelty are dissolved by being pissed on from a great height with a stream of golden, glowing benevolence."

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: Haunting reverbed guitars and swooning synths are laid out into languid carpets of sound before being joined by the unearthly, mesmerising vocals of Liela Moss. Like the best instrumental affectations of stunning post-rock but joined by the soaring majesty of a good vocal line. Brilliant.

                “In the year of the snitch, there are forces beyond your control that keep you up at night. Ghost notions that swirl around your room while you sleep. Your own pillow laughing right in your face while you fight for an hour of rest. Voices whisper from the corner, telling you everything you never wanted to hear. Negative Growth, our third album, is dedicated to fear and deception. “This collection of songs was conceived in Memphis and finalized in Los Angeles, with the help of our family doctor Ty Segall. It was created in February 2016, when we traded Memphis misery for a week of California sunshine. Negative Growth is a nine-track nightmare, a death trip in the crystal ship. The institution known as In The Red Records will do the honors. The Hollywood Heat Seeker takes ten years off your life.” - Chris Shaw of Ex-Cult.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Mr. Investigator
                2. Attention Ritual
                3. Let You In
                4. Government Birdcage
                5. Dogs Roll In
                6. Panic In Pig Park
                7. Hollywood Heatseeker
                8. Nightmare Zone
                9. New Face On

                The London 4-piece return with an album brimming with new sounds amid a vibrant energy, flecked with sublimely delicate, intimate spaces and recorded by Simon Raymonde (Bella Union / Cocteau Twins).

                At the core is a deep respect for the frailty of life and the nobility that can be observed in death. Sonar, a highly emotional Liela Moss vocal, delivers a poignant goodbye to a loved one, framed by a magnificent circular guitar hook around which organs, bass and drums carry prayer and eulogy. There are some maverick guest appearances throughout the record, Mark Lanegan, Raymonde himself, longterm TDS collaborator Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey/Gallon Drunk) and old friend Sam Windett from Archie Bronson Outfit is here also to duet with Liela on the wiry post-punk vibes of Side By Side.

                One of the many standouts on the album is Pacific, a hyper vigilant and introspective tale of travel and self-discovery, of the realisation that often silence is a better way to communicate than with words. Adding to the tension, a force that pulls you in deep throughout the album, is a beautiful melody at the start of the song played on the saw by Mara Carlyle who also lends her effortlessly fluid voice to this and Sonar.

                Despite these cameos, this is about The Duke Spirit, who in ten glorious songs, have resurfaced effortlessly and quietly, with one of the most exhilarating albums of this year.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Blue And Yellow Light
                2. Sonar
                3. Wounded Wing
                4. Hands
                5. Here Comes The Vapour
                6. Pacific
                7. Anola
                8. Side By Side
                9. 100 Horses Run
                10. Follow

                On the tail of their breakout second LP Midnight Passenger, Memphis-based punk cyclone Ex-Cult delivers a brand new batch of bruisers. Chris Shaw lends a sneering, spitting toughness to the proceedings while the band flays riffs in loose, hairy, mosh-inducing menace behind him, touching on post-punk, psych sprawl and early-’80s hardcore while remaining beholden to none. They have the power to convert even the most jaded and bored concertgoer into a sweaty mess in the pit. Punks, skate rats, scenesters, skinheads, hardcore kids, druggies-so many disparate groups dig this band it’s like an MRR cartoon waiting to happen. The adrenal-enhancers on Cigarette Machine are road warriors already, having been honed on the band’s recent tour that no doubt laid waste to a town nearby. The only problem with this sterling batch of sluggers is that it’s over too quick.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Clinical Study
                2. Cigarette Machine
                3. Rats In The Gas Tank
                4. Meda House Company
                5. Dripping Mouth
                6. Your Mask

                Ex Hex

                Rips

                  Ex Hex is a power trio hailing from Washington, DC. With Wild Flag on hiatus, Mary Timony (Autoclave, Helium) needed a new outlet, so she retreated to her basement and started writing. To her surprise, the songs came easily and the hooks practically wrote themselves. Mary found Laura Harris and they hit it off immediately. The pair played together for a couple of months in a tiny carpet-lined practice space shared with half a dozen hardcore bands and what appeared to be the better part of a BC Rich Mockingbird. In walked Betsy Wright from the wilds of Virginia. She and Mary have similar tendencies, both defaulting to denim and The Voidoids. Betsy is a performer and an ace piano player, and before long, she was slinging a cherry SG as the third member of Ex Hex.

                  The group played a handful of shows and a couple of months later, in the spring of 2014, headed into the studio. Working furiously, they recorded over the span of two weeks in North Carolina with Mitch Easter (Let's Active) and in the basement of Mary's home with frequent collaborator Jonah Takagi. What results is Ex Hex 'Rips', twelve songs about underdogs, guys stealing your wallet, schoolyard brawls, and getting bent. The record happens pretty quickly, so don't blink.

                  “a fun-as-hell supercharged take on Ramones punk and Cheap Trick power-pop, direct and catchy beyond belief” - STEREOGUM.
                  “While the song’s reminiscent of Wild Flag’s rollicking material, it simultaneously holds its own as a sizzling and energetic little rocker.“ - CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND, on “Don’t Wanna Lose”.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Don’t Wanna Lose
                  2. Beast
                  3. Waste Your Time
                  4. You Fell Apart
                  5. How You Got That Girl
                  6. Waterfall
                  7. Hot And Cold
                  8. Radio On
                  9. New Kid
                  10. War Paint
                  11. Everywhere
                  12. Outro

                  Plastikman

                  EX

                    Plastikman, aka Richie Hawtin recorded 'EX' at the Guggenheim, New York’s iconic art museum. This very special performance was at the invitation of influential Belgium fashion designer and artistic director at Dior, Raf Simons, for the Guggenheim’s annual fundraiser, performed around a specially constructed LED obelisk.

                    Richie Hawtin explains, “I knew that Raf was a long time Plastikman fan so by accepting his offer to perform at the Dior event at the Guggenheim I knew I’d set myself up to a huge challenge. Although Raf was happy to have the already complete Plastikman Live 1.5 show, I locked myself away in a series of intense studio sessions and quickly recorded enough new material for the performance and realized I might also have enough for a complete new album. The music came out of me effortlessly as I was very inspired by the opportunity to play in this beautiful architectural space renowned more for art than music. The location also allowed me to step far away from the dancefloor, giving me a huge amount of freedom to EXplore any sonic ideas that I had. Art, music, architecture, painting, sculpture – these mediums are supposed to live together.”

                    Richie Hawtin is many things - an extraordinary DJ, creator of the ENTER. experience, mastermind behind the M_nus label, technological innovator, art aficionado - in 2011 he collaborated with British sculptor Anish Kapoor for an installation in Paris - and style icon. Before this, though, and perhaps most famously of all, he was and is Plastikman, an electronic music phenomenon whose followers are legion and fanatic.

                    Between 1993 and 2003, Plastikman created an astonishing body of work, one that didn’t so much define a time and place as explode them, expanding the dimensions of Detroit techno and redefining the possibilities of electronic dance music. Across six albums (‘Sheet One’, ‘Musik’, ‘Recycled Plastik’, ‘Consumed’, ‘Artifakts (B.C.)’, and ‘Closer)’ and numerous singles such as ‘Spastik’, ‘Plastique’, and ‘Sickness’, Plastikman evolved into one of contemporary electronic music’s most distinctive voices: minimalist, psychedelic, seriously groove-laden, and ever mindful of the transcendent properties of electronica.

                    Plastikman was never going to be a heritage dance act and this latest renaissance opens doors few never knew existed, showcasing a master at work.

                    Hey bro, check it out: In Memphis in early 2011, five people joined forces to start a punk rock band. They each came from different scenes—hardcore, psychedelic, and various flavors of indie pop. Things gelled. I mean, really came together, man! Following the release of two killer singles under the name Sex Cult, they were faced with a lawsuit from a similarly named and very aggressive techno label in New York City. So Sex Cult became Ex-Cult. Playing a series of house parties and gigs in dive bars, Ex-Cult honed their sound—a punk rock sweet spot that incorporates angular post-punk, flying saucer fuzz guitar, snotty vocals and bash-your-head-in energy. A real stone groove! Killer linear punk à la Wire, Urinals, Australia’s X or something, man! A show at SXSW caught the attention of indie wonderkind Ty Segall, and the two began making plans to record in San Francisco. This is the end result—a debut album that takes the living energy of their show and crams it onto the grooves of an LP. Wild, man! Wild!

                    The Ex

                    Dizzy Spells

                      Latest offering from Amsterdam's experimental anarcho-punk legends. This one is engineered by Steve Albini who stamps his authority and sound all over this release.

                      White Willow

                      Ex Tenebris

                        Their second album is an assured piece of neo-prog still with the Genesis influences coming through and with some of their strongest material, beautifully played and produced.


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