In Review: EXEK – EXEK (TIME AND SPACE RECORDS, 2014)

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Churning out discordant sound scapes and minimalist nightmarish scrawls, Exek are neither rock nor electronica but a twisted hybrid of both. This music is worth checking out for those who find solace in dank morasses.

Exek have recently emerged from the shadows to deliver their debut cassette EP. When I say emerged from the shadows, I don’t mean fully – only enough to trace a ghostly silhouette. This release has come out through Time and Space Records and it was through them that I was turned onto Exek.

I’ll start by saying that this music isn’t for everyone, but there is something most can appreciate. It’s worth noting that to truly enjoy this work you have to be willing to let the band guide you through the dark spaces. It might be tough to do at first, but I think it is worth it.

The cassette contains four tunes of paranoid bends and secluded writhing. The influences aren’t readily apparent (although the presser mentions an appreciation of PiL and Swell Maps), but the back-lit landscape contains hidden depths and nuances that require a few listens to tease out (the impact of the lonely saxophone, for example). Drum machines give way to live drums but the beats are uncomplicated – giving a structured feel to the collection as a whole. The vocals are haunting and understated, repeating mantras and inner thoughts underneath blue light and flickering neon.

Churning out discordant sound scapes and minimalist nightmarish scrawls, Exek are neither rock nor electronica but a twisted hybrid of both. The distraught guitar work makes my skin crawl, like a soundtrack to a horror film; it puts me in a strange headspace, uncomfortable but stimulating. This music is certainly something I have to be in the mood for, much like any of the abrasive gloom-mongers that traverse the Australian underground, but this is a beautifully executed release.

Written and composed over a few years by founding member, Albert Wolski, this release is heavily layered and affected by Korgs and distortion yet remains coherent. Joined recently by Damien Minards, Henry Wilson and Sam Dixon, Exek has shaped into a live outfit that can embody the disaffected ideas in a live setting.

This cassette came out in late August and few physical copies remain. Yet this music is worth checking out for those who find solace in dank morasses.

EXEK BANDCAMP / TIME AND SPACE RECORDS BANDCAMP