Timber Timbre chaps Simon Trottier and Olivier Fairfield dip their toes into experimental instrumental rock with new project Last Ex, which takes its name from an abandoned film which Timber Timbre recorded a soundtrack for a couple of years ago, which started the pair down this particular avenue. Mixing sweeping cinematic strings and Morricone-inspired guitar with elements of sound collage and tape manipulation and recommended for fans of "early Trans Am, early/mid Tortoise" in the press release, this could be interesting!
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You know. The psychedelic rock. That o-l-d psychedelic rock they have these days. It's new, but it's as old as the hills. Then you got yrrr desert rock, yr cosmic wig-out mad granddad rock. Then Ma baked a big kosmische pie. Granny knitted a synthesizer. The rest is on Julian Cope's website. Then you got Last Ex. Like, who the fuck are these guys? It's kinda reminiscent of Beak>> to start with really. Which is tantamount to saying "...sounds like Boards of Canada" but to some beardy Teutonic trip-heads rather than some spotty IDM nerdface. IE this is fucking amazing. Free-jumping into 'Girl Seizure', a percussive beauty with dying insect synth and sinister cinematic stabs. Like Broadcast feasting on 'Naked Lunch'. Whaaat is this?
Cripes, it doesn't get much better than this enigmatic album. 'Flute Magique' could only be Soundcarriers shagging the neck-hole of early Tortoise, a proper smoky Can-like desert creeper that defies words. Rich, lush and penetrating music indeed. I dig the title of the next one. 'It's Not Chris'! No, of course not, it's Brian! (my real name is Chris, however) This begins with some spook-scapery that bursts into another of those great hammond-laced soundtracky things, this one with a little more of a brooding element. I'm reminded of Parsley Sound and Portishead a little.
It does morph strangely into new sonic worlds as the album progresses but there is a consistency of premium quality throughout. Last Ex appear to have touched upon quite a scintillating hybrid of styles here and have managed to make instrumental music that is so engaging and atmosphere-drenched that no matter be it a motorik piece or the whimsical rustic classicism of 'Nell's Theme' you'll find yourself completely absorbed and moved by this evocative music. As the second half proceeds it gets more ponderous and downbeat, like Side X is all about the minimal rock propulsion, all brittle dynamics and repetition, then side XX is more about texture and rumination largely. Then it gets weird and a little eerie towards the conclusion.
I've not heard an album this good on Constellation for aeons, I could listen to it on repeat for days. Phil has pissed the entire office off by hammering it constantly for the last couple of months but to be honest, I don't blame him. There's something immensely satisfying abut this record, one of 2014's fringe surprises....
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