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Alternation

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Album Review

Excepter's second full-length CD is more beat-driven than their work would become on later releases, but the drifting, psychedelic, layered abstraction that marks all their music is strongly present. Some tracks offer sounds close to conventional hooks ("Ice Cream Van" features a post-punky guitar figure), while others are swirls of seeming nonsense lyrics from multiple vocalists both male and female, vintage synthesizers chirping and humming, and simple hypnotic drum machine beats. "Lypse" and "Knock Knock" are more sinister, with primary vocalist John Fell Ryan either muttering beneath creepy horror movie synth melodies or wailing semi-coherently. Some track titles, like "The Pipes," "Knock Knock," and "Apt. Living," seem to explicitly reference the band's existence in New York, while others ("The ‘Rock' Stepper") are harder to parse. Excepter resist easy pigeonholing in all aspects of their artistic existence. They're not a noise group, they adopt strategies from dance music without being remotely danceable in a traditional nightclub way, and their version of psychedelia is unsettling and grimy. This album lays the groundwork for later work more than it succeeds on its own, but there are definitely moments that are captivating in ways more traditionally structured and melodic music can't match.

Biography

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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Alternation, Excepter
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