It is only possible to make something new in the absence of limiting restrictions. It would only make sense that Exitmusic would release their new album in 2012 (their EP was released in October of last year—close enough to 2012 for me), a year that has so far been defined by a kind of lawlessness. Rather than decompose in the chaos and absurdity of existence, Exitmusic has created something transcendental—an ageless EP that defies all creativity-suffocating genre forms.
Exitmusic takes the generation-defining electronic elements from The Age of Adz and weaves them flawlessly inside the transcendental moments from Sigur Rós' most beautiful albums. They merge the "weirdness" of Björk's Icelandic pedigree with the "druggy" and ethereal moments of early Portishead. All of this is done within only four songs.
The stark Sigur Rós influences are most apparent on the chorus of "The Modern Age," where they create a beautiful cacophony of fragile, Icelandic vocals followed by a pounding four-to-the-floor beat. Rather than lose themselves in the noise, they quickly reel this in, only to build up again into another exhilarating chorus—a kind of Myth of Sisyphus for contemporary times. The beauty and pleasure of their music is found in the moment; it is not found in any memory of a previous track nor any anticipation of future songs/choruses.
The penultimate “The Hours” comes back to more traditional Sigur Rós—a kind of post-coital afterglow found only in reflection following a perfect mixtape. Everywhere there is gloom and death, chaos and absurdity. “Look up the sky’s awake, the sun is shining” allows us temporary solace from the reality of existence—the crashing of all traditional genre structures all around us. Exitmusic is the sun.
“The Silence” begins in what can only be a nod to Portishead’s seminal Dummy. Here we find a lasting tristesse—an enduring longing I thought could only be found in Thom Yorke’s otherworldly croon. The vocals mark a cyclical, eternal reoccurrence. The EP begins in the silence of “The Sea” and ends in the silence of reflection.
We can only hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel; reminiscence of the past is a burly chain that is not easily broken. Exitmusic, however, breaks this chain by refusing to allow the anxiety of influence to squelch their creative product—something that holds back so many other, promising bands.
1. The Sea
2. The Modern Age
3. The Hours
4. The Silence