Release Date: Feb 16, 2010
Record label: Paw Tracks
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
An English professor of mine once likened the work of Ben Jonson to French cuisine. You cannot change the recipe for a great French chef. Each dish is a work of art, and if you'd like to swap the green beans for peas, you are wrong. Jonson had similar disdain for his audience. He would provide them ….
Through a steady stream of albums, EPs, podcasts, and even a double-album mix of podcasts, Brooklyn's Excepter have honed a sound both recognizable and tough to pin down. Not that it's particularly hard to describe, with its improvised electronic squiggles, dubby synth noise, criss-crossing drum machines, and zombified moans. But explaining their music by cataloging the sonic elements is like saying water tastes like hydrogen and oxygen.
Listening to Excepter I either feel less human, or like everyone else is less human, or like human isn’t really a desirable thing to be. Listening to Excepter causes me to redefine downwards what, exactly, I think the limits of humanity are; not in terms of some sort of debasement, but in the same sense that minimalism makes me redefine art. Minimalism shows us that elements we thought were essential to art are merely contingent and widely used (Excepter do this too).
The music of Excepter is one of the pricklier propositions of the Brooklyn noise scene, offering no easy foothold for those attempting to tune into their nebulous wavelength. Their longform, improvised jams are not rooted in post-punk or psych-pop like those of their neighbors Black Dice and Animal Collective. Unlike Gang Gang Dance, they do not tend towards deconstructions of worldbeat, nor do they engage with the minimalist drone traditions that inform the work of Growing.
Presidence has been referred to as Excepter’s eighth album in as many years; however the suggestion that this two hour double CD collection of 'live performance and extended compositions' as a coherent 'album' is disingenuous at best. Lacking in direction, rhythm and structure, Presidence is a smorgasbord of work that Excepter have done over the past decade, from the title track, recorded on President’s Day 2003 and consisting of a 30 minute solo synthesizer performance, to ‘The Open Well’, an excerpt from the band’s 17 hour 'protest' performance at Monkey Town experimental cinema-restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on election day 2008. Similar to another recent experimental release, Sunburned Hand of the Man’s A, Presidence shows glimpses of the potential that could be achieved if only the self aggrandising pretentiousness of being ‘experimental’ could be overcome.