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Ka Review

by Phil Freeman

The first full-length Excepter album is paired on this CD with the 12" "Vacation"/"Forget Me" single. Those two songs, which open the disc, feel like two halves of a whole, or remixes of each other. The avant-garde electronic collective mixes analog synths and muffled/murmured/treated male and female vocals with echoey drum patterns that recall the Orb, Basic Channel, Mikkel Metal, and other producer/artists who have combined dub and techno. Much of the rest of the disc dispenses with overt rhythm, finding the group instead exploring ghostly, haunted sounds. Voices wail, keyboards hum and squeal, and melody is almost entirely absent. The effect is not unlike the interludes on albums by psychedelic rock groups like Hawkwind or even the Butthole Surfers, minus the eventual emergence of actual songs. A few tracks, like "Be Beyond Me" and "See Your Son," have an assaultiveness that's reminiscent of early-'80s industrial experimentalists. The disc's second half, roughly from "Free from Muscles" on, is a continuous suite, albeit one that, like the rest of the record, never really goes anywhere or seems to want to. Excepter's utter refusal to offer conclusions or to make their intentions clear winds up being one of the most fascinating aspects of their music -- it's like being trapped in someone else's dream, observing an impenetrable logic at work.

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