Posts Tagged ‘Excepter’

Sightings: HTRK: “Bendin'”

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Excepter‘s Nathan Corbin, aka Zebrablood, just sent in these ominous, narratively ambiguous black-and-white visuals for London-via-Melbourne electronic group HTRK, pronounced “Hate Rock.” Following the tragic suicide of founding member Sean Stewart in March of last year, Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang returned this September with a new studio full-length on Ghostly International— their second in the group’s nearly eight years of existence. “Bendin'” layers Standish’s ghostly vocals over dub-slow deep bass hits and slinky, contrapuntal beat programming. Corbin’s video first spoke to me of the feeling of rediscovering the streets and interiors your everyday urban itinerary through the eyes of a outsider, but according to the director, the truth is way more elaborate than that:

“An alien crash lands in downtown LA, breaking a water main. Balancing itself against the Earth’s gravity, the alien bends and twists out of sight from firemen inspecting the damage. It finds seclusion in the city’s little used elevators and escalators. It tries to drink water but can’t swallow. The alien wanders into an arcade. Men play pool surrounded by a dozen TVs all playing the same soap opera. These humans, waiting for the bus or floating down the boardwalk on segways, seem all the more estranged. Yet the alien puts this circus of weirdos at unease. The alien twists down the boardwalk with it’s energy drink in imitation of the humans around it…impossibly trying to fit in.

Jonnine and Nigel both play the alien. ‘Bendin” is dance video, literalizing the song’s themes of bending and twisting in the movements of the alien.”

Words: Emilie Friedlander

WORK (work, work) is out now on Ghostly International

John Elliott & Telecult Powers Form Inner Spaced

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Inner Spaced is a droney collaboration between Emeralds’ John Elliott and Brooklyn/New Orleans modular synth duo Telecult Powers— self-described as an “electronic music [group] with the sole/soul purpose of trans-plutonian communication.” The following excerpt comes pretty close to capturing the feel of Telecult’s inimitable live performances, which combine tactile sound vibration, candle light flickers, and old nature documentaries and ethnographic films to quasi-liturgical effect. Typically, “Witchbeam” and “Mister Matthews” sit on the floor with their backs to the audience and their faces to the screen, manning their machines like the controls on the dashboard of a helicopter; the husky drones and mechanical pulses that ensue become the sound of navigating the world that we behold on screen– as though it were not our world at all, but a cabinet of alien curiosities that happen to look an awful lot like cuttlefish, human beings, and white arabians. No visuals to accompany this one, but an inner-eye journey is there for the taking. 

Inner Spaced: Stars Are The Eyes of God Excerpt

Words: Emilie Friedlander

Stars Are The Eyes of God split tape is out July 19th via Gift Tapes sublabel Draft. Side One is Hecate’s Fountain, Telecult performing with Lala Ryan of Excepter. Side Two is Inner Spaced and is Telecult Powers with John Elliott from Outer Space/Emeralds. Be sure to catch Telecult Powers in June at the AZ-sponsored Neon Marshmallow Fest

Co-Premiere: Excepter, “When You Call” Video

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

“When You Call”, off Excepter‘s Presidence LP from February, is a dubbed-out, subwoofer-friendly master mix of a number of live performances of that same song, arranged by bandmember Nathan Corbin, aka Zebrablood. This new video, also by Corbin, sets its snail-slow bass jaunt and molasses-stuck note-bends to images of the bandmates themselves — no longer walking in the sand, as we saw in last year’s Black Beach DVD, but stalking the treeless avenues and empty hipster bars of industrial Bushwick. Chiaroscuro flashes of smartly dressed humanity relieve us with the impression that we’re not the only people alive in this post-apocalyptic terrain — the chilling part is trying to figure out whether there’s anybody home behind these shallow grimaces, dark sunglasses, and perfectly timed needle drops. (Altered Zones co-premiere))

Presidence LP is available via Paw Tracks, and the band’s new Late EP is out now on Woodsist. A new cassette release, Maze of Death, is slated for Black Friday (November 26) via Dog Daze Tapes

Sightings: Lester Brown, “Feed Me Sea Weed”

Friday, May 21st, 2010

I have been thinking a lot about chillwave lately. Namely, whether such a thing as chillwave actually exists — for it certainly sounds silly enough to be part of some massive industry in-joke — and how our generation could have possibly produced a musical genre predicated entirely on the notion of straight chilling. The people’s encyclopedia provides a surprising definition of chillwave as a musical iteration of Jacques Derrida’s notion of “hauntology,” which maintains that “society after the end of history will begin to orient itself towards ideas and aesthetics that are thought of as rustic, bizarre or “old-timey”; that is, towards the “ghost” of the past.” In chillwave, Wikipedia reports, “80s synthpop is filtered through a distorted lens, re-envisioning the era in a more vague and lo-fi sense.” Also according to the stub, Ducktails, Washed Out, Memory Tapes, and Nite Jewel count as bonifide chillwave, whereas The xx, jj, and Best Coast are simply “confused” with chillwave. So I suppose the designation must be specific to a certain extent; simply channeling 80s synth pop (xx), for example, or simply singing about the sun and naming your project after the beach (Best Coast), is somehow not enough.

I’ve also been wondering about the roots of chillwave, and whether it is not truly just a watered-down, ultra-namaste version of the “hypnagogic pop” genre David Keenan willed into existence in the Wire last August — but that doesn’t really make sense, because it apparently the term made its world debut on July 27, 2009, on Hipster Runoff (where, I might add, he was already kind of making fun of it). Earlier this month, the six-piece electronic outfit Excepter were billed somewhat half-seriously at the Knitting Factory as the “Chillwave Originators” — in reference to their “Vacation” 12 inch, which could be said to have crystallized some of the genre’s formal and thematic earmarks as early as 2004. And I frankly don’t even know what those earmarks are, though I like to think that I can hear them even as far back as the scorched guitar arpeggio on Public Image Ltd.’s “Poptones,” repeated ad finitum as John Lydon (ex-Johnny Rotten) intones ominously about “[Driving] to the forest in a Japanese car,” listening to “poptones” on a cassette — and then suddenly speaking from the perspective of a corpse. Did chillwave begin with an entirely different take on the word “chilling”?

Which all goes to show just how ill-defined and open-ended this thing called “chillwave” really is; to the extent that it does in fact exist, it is no more than a spontaneously generated repository for a generation’s viral dreams, a tag without a signified, a Wikipedia page that will always be in the process of rewriting itself. Last week, I was thrown for a small panic attack when an artist — Canada’s Lester Brown — sent me his new free MP3 album and the songs showed up in my Itunes under genre header “chillwave,” with a lower-case “c.” Adding to my complete and utter disbelief, the email was also openly addressed to about 15 other blogs that could be said to write on the chillwave tip. Does that mean that Visitation Rites has been a chillwave blog, without even knowing it? And is Lester Brown poking fun at chillwave, or is he making fun of us? Either way, I think his song “Feed Me Sea Weed” is pretty good anthem for the 21st century. Maybe that’s because it kind of reminds me of what John Maus might sound like if he stopped pitching his voice down an octave and wrote a satyric sequel to “Do Your Best” — one in which the song’s main character grows so enamored with the beach that he starts mainlining wakame and hijiki instead of pizza and slurpies. More than seaweed, though, Lester Brown’s unique brand of chillwave seems to live on a steady diet of chillwave itself. It may not be sustainable, but its results are facetious enough to actually sound sincere.

Lester Brown, “Feed Me Sea Weed” [Isolomania]

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Download Lester Brown’s free Isolomania EP here.

Words: Emilie Friedlander


Saturday, February 20th, 2010

John Fell Ryan, aka Excepter’s “JFR”, on the above collection of three ink drawings, displayed last month among other visual sweat meats at Fingered Gallery in Bushwick:

“These are all from the Spring of 1998. I was living alone on the corner of Metropolitan and Driggs in Williamsburg, trying to merge cartooning and abstract design with concepts of American Folk mythology and Jungian sex magick. No real art world aim in mind; these were done for reasons of personal development.”

Arthur Radio Transmission #5: Amor Apocalíptico, with live set by Wish

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Collage: In-studio photo by Anna Gonick and artwork by Wish

Last Sunday, Visitation Rites returned to Arthur Radio to celebrate the astronomical conjunction of the Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, and President’s day, which just so happened be the release date for Excepter‘s almost eponymous new double L.P. Presidence (preview inside). Rather than make love songs the ordre du jour, we thought we would simply regale you with some tunes that have been pulling our heart strings of late. In the second hour, Zeljko McMullen of the music/visual/art collective Shinkoyo, and founder of Brooklyn’s Paris London West Nile DIY performance space, took us a thousand leagues under the sea of pop musical detritus with his electronic solo project, Wish.

Horizons: Living Out Here on the Beach, Excepter-Style

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

110668Excepter‘s music has always kind of reminded me of New Weird America’s evil twin, absconding from the wilderness to turn tricks in broad daylight on some street corner near 34th street-Penn Station, clad in a leather jacket and fingerless gloves. Like Sunburned’s, their sound comes across as the diegetic byproduct of some Manson Family-style ritual, frightening for the very reason that we really have no idea where that ritual comes from, or what the band’s members are trying to achieve. Even in the pit of industrial North Brooklyn, surrounded by concrete on all sides, they take rocks and sticks and animal-shaped talismans and try to hack their way slowly back to the earth.

Introducing “MR. Lee” by John Fell Ryan as SETH

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

SETH is a solo project by Excepter‘s John Fell Ryan, occasionally accompanied by partner/bandmate Lala Ryan, among others, on stage. Video artist Jon Williams informs us that the track title is a nod to Chistopher Lee’s 1959 horror film “The Mummy”, which makes an appearance in the video. See if you can find it!