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Album Review

Brooklyn experimental outfit Excepter is known for a provocative brand of what you could call sonic terrorism, and they're notorious for confrontational live performances, but you'd never know it from listening to Presidence. On this two-disc collection of improvisations, the beat-conscious aspects of the band's sound are mostly cast aside along with song structure, letting the players stretch out and create expansive atmospheres that are often arch and sometimes dark and creepy, but almost never assaultive. In fact, for all its eccentricity, much of the music here — especially on the first disc — has a warm, enveloping feel (for experimental electronics, anyway). Aside from the anomalous closing track, "When You Call," which feels more composed and traffics in the kind of rhythms and vocals frequently found on previous Excepter releases, Presidence gets downright psychedelic-sounding at times — not in an "Incense and Peppermints" way, but in the sense of achieving a trippy, mind-expanding musical aura. As multiple synthesizer lines swell and fade, falling atop one another like a series of waves lapping up on the beach, there's a truly transportive feeling of transcending the knobs-and-wires origins of the music, and being drawn somewhere else in its otherworldly tow. As with Excepter albums of the past, the influence of dark electronic experimentalists from the post-punk era, like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, can be heard, but just as prevalent is a sensibility that seems more in line with the synth-focused side of early-‘70s Krautrock in all its brain-bending glory, à la groups like Brainticket and even (very) early Tangerine Dream. While Presidence isn't exactly meditative or ambient, its avant-garde ambitions don't preclude accessibility either, so don't be scared by the rep, come on in — the water's fine. ~ J. Allen, Rovi


Formed: 2002 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Formed in the summer of 2002 in New York City, Excepter, originally consisted of DJs John Fell Ryan (vocals, synths, drum box, and electronics) and Dan Hougland (synths, drum box, electronics, and piano) along with husband-and-wife duo Calder Martin (vocals, guitar, and percussion) and Caitlin Cook (vocals and dancing), who all came together to explore the more esoteric nature of house and experimental music. Soon, Macrae Semans, who had also DJed in the New York club scene, was added, and in 2003,...
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Presidence, Excepter
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