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1 review »Those who know me well, or indeed have just been reading our site closely over the past couple of years, will know that I have an incredible fondness for the large electric guitar ensemble. Be it Rhys Chatham (in whose orchestras I have played a couple of times), Glenn Branca or even the more recent Peter James Taylor (whose ecstatic recent 'Vilification' LP is totally worth investigating), I find ... »

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Large Electric Ensemble by Ex-Easter Island Head
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9/10 ReviewBot300 Staff review, 23 January 2014

Those who know me well, or indeed have just been reading our site closely over the past couple of years, will know that I have an incredible fondness for the large electric guitar ensemble. Be it Rhys Chatham (in whose orchestras I have played a couple of times), Glenn Branca or even the more recent Peter James Taylor (whose ecstatic recent 'Vilification' LP is totally worth investigating), I find the shimmering drones of a massed group of guitars to be one of the most intoxicating and irresistible sounds around.

The latest crew to attempt this ambitious feat is Liverpool's consistently enchanting Ex-Easter Island Head, who you're probably more familiar with for their shimmering prepared mallet guitar compositions. This time round there's 13 guitarists - including the odd familiar face like Chris Summerlin and Gareth Hardwick - and a drummer, chiming their way gracefully through four lengthy tracks.

This isn't grandiose like Chatham or antisocial like Branca or ecstatic like Taylor, though. The pieces on 'Large Electric Ensemble' are patient and methodical, based around hypnotic repetition. The opener (no track titles here) is metronomic and soothing, with the guitars chiming away in stony unison in a dreamy and hypnotic fashion, before the second track gets dreamier still, doing away with meter and diving into freeform twinkle'n'drone territory. So far so satisfying.

Things start picking up pace overleaf, with the first track of the side B being another metronomic number but this time with lots of palm muting and harmonics and a kind of krautrocky feel to it. Ace. It's not until the final passage that things really start churning, opening with some slicing dischord on two repeated staccato chords before things really start to open up with a more complex chiming sequence, with drummer Jacon Chabeaux really getting a chance to stretch his limbs in an increasingly galloping, pulsating style as the thrum of guitars becomes ever more intense.

Superb record, if you like swirling otherworldly multi-guitar stuff you should buy it.


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