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Excited yet?

img  Tobias

The modern electronic scene is full of excitement for those willing to search - each day, it seems, some new laptop-loving sound scientists appears seemingly from nowhere but with already a couple of releases under his belt and blows you away. The electronic gurus of the 70s are almost all highly critical of the "democratisation of means" which has allowed every 17-year old schoolgirl with an imac to record an album. But with the great albums coming in at an ever-growing pace, it is getting harder and harder to uphold the claim that mediocrity is the winner of the world wibe web. Take Exillon, for example.

Based in San Francisco, this one-man band has already released a full album (on component record), an ep (on the still young, fresh and growing zod records) and at least one contribution for a sampler to his credit (the excillion homepage is not exactly exuberant in doling out information, so there might be more out there). How he managed to stay underneath the radar of broader attention is a mystery, even though it didn't help that Component Records sadly closed down after six wonderful years. But his ep on zod already has all the trademarks of his sound and is a true treat to friends of quirkiness, uplifting melodies and yet an undefinable wistfulness - autechre seem to have been an inspiration, with those synth-bubbles of opener "Opus" reminiscent of the English duo, although Exillon's take is more direct and shining and without references to architecture or maths. Meanwhile, "Loadok" unleashes garganteous breakbeats on a helpless theme from a music box, shreddering it to pieces and uncovering the mysteries hidden inside. If this guy is indeed borrowing from his heroes, he is at least doing it brilliantly.

Hiding behind the Exillon-mask is Jay Fields and diving into his personal history immediately brings a few suprises to the light. For, believe it or not, this man does not fit the 17-year old schoolgirl-grid (and we're not just talking about the girl-part). First of all, Jay started out as a drummer and then even took a few lessons exploring the deeper regions of the bass. He was an active part of a band for four years, but the advent of a personal computer in his home changed everything. This, and the notion of keeping full control of his artistic course, naturally. What we're really trying to say here is: Despite the accusations that all of these pc-wonderboys are non-musicians, Fields actually has a background in playing "real" instruments (we hate this vocabulary as well). Secondly, it's all software. Despite claims to the contrary, most "serious" electronic artists still pride themselves of their synthesizers, samplers and effect pedals - not Jay, though. And finally, Exillon is not only about building wild, beat n melody-tracks - but also about songwriting.

This latter claim can be fully explored on the new album "The Keening Dithers", for which the Ad Noiseam label under the auspices of Nicolas Chevreux has leant a helping hand. On eleven tracks, Jay teams up with famed collegues such as Meat Beat Manifesto, Mad EP and slightly less famous Terminal11 and 5 Minute Project and offers a colourful ride. Despite the fact that these pieces don't follow the verse/chorus scheme, they retain a certain "songs without words"-appeal, without ever loosing their experimental touch. And "Moonshine Sinatra" is possibly the only time we will not run away screaming when Beethoven's almost indentically titled classic is being treated to an electronic reworking. Chevreux is right in explaining that "on “The Keening Dithers”, Exillon's clean and precise beats play a new game of cat and mouse with crystalline electronic tunes. Jay Fields's long and evolving melodies guide the listener and provide him with necessary harmonies in the abundant environment of beats and breaks."

The label really believes in this one, with Nicolas even taking on the responsability of cover-design. Rightly so - "The Keeing Dithers" has all the ingredients to please an in-crowd, as well as luring newbies into "electronica wonderland". If this still doesn't exciting enough to you, move over to the Ad Noiseam homepage to at least listen to some extracts of the album. Or get back to reading about 17-year old schoolgirls with imacs, you naughty boy!

Homepage: Exillon
Homepage: Exillon at Ad Noiseam
Homepage: Exillon at zod records

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