New Music – Back On The Grid

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Almost like the sound of butter melting in the pan, bedroom recordings always have this intimate nature behind them even when those same records are mixed and mastered in mansion-esque recording studios.

A band that works around this notion is Melbourne’s own EXEK on their 2022 release Advertise Here. A fairly quick ride around the block sitting at 35 minutes, Advertise Here is immediately blissful on the harmonic side of things.

EXEK opens with “The Mains” which is a gentle eye-opening rise with soft synths that resemble these momentary horns. Almost similar to a somber funeral, “The Mains” paints an image of fogginess and an unknown element to Advertise Here before the first true instrumental track plays into frame.

“(I’m After) Your Best Interest” is an upbeat start with mostly percussion by Chris Stephenson bringing the remaining instruments in. Like a red carpet, they appear to strut in one by one so the listener can get a short, but unsubdued look at each component.

When vocalist Valya YL Hool begins this narration around the track, his vocals are almost muddied by the entire mix of instruments that surround him. Instead of being a negative aspect though, EXEK marches through this grand build-up and break-down within transitions to craft a stage around Hool.

And this follows until the final 30 seconds of “(I’m After) Your Best Interest” where the tone becomes more vivid with loose instrumentation but fantastic direction of sound. Later pieces like “Sen Yen For 30 Min Of Violin” are an interesting derailment of momentum for a graceful glance into these piano chords that start more loving and intimate than somber.

When EXEK appears as a conglomerate figure, the band adapts so well together in creating this otherworldly, but still reachable medium. Like an abstract painting, “Sen Yen For 30 Min Of Violin” is instrumentally quite approachable but from a distance becomes more and more intriguing. Dissecting the track gets further and further into the ideology of being an architect for the absolute strange and vague at times.

“Sen Yen For 30 Min Of Violin” has Hool describing, “Well-worn rood that costs a lot in units of a currency that forgot. What the exchange rate was, what’s the contents of that bag?” With a highlighted ramp in emotional output musically, Hool is given the keys to the city as he continues on. “Watch as that psychic’s face strain becomes unbearable, unbearable to watch. Weathered rocks and loose terrain, geographic surveys always look the same.”

Final moments with EXEK create this fantastic segue where the instruments fall back into a subtle creep in the same way they began. Tracks from “Hiding A Smile” to “The Mains” are almost able to coexist within each other before the listener falls back into the pit of warm and dynamic silk sounds.

Listen To Advertise Here!!! – BandCamp/Spotify/iTunes

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