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Exael debuts on Huerco S' West Mineral Ltd with ‘Collex’, a deep, impressionistic album of ambient soundscaping recorded between Chicago and Berlin, following an excellent split EP with likeminded producer, Ryan Fall a.k.a. uon, as well as a number of compilation appearances with Allergy Season/Discwoman, Physical Therapy and Carpet Group Recordings, the latter of whom coincidentally issued Exael’s self-titled 2017 album under the Naemi alias.
Crafted over the two years since their first album, ‘Collex’ finds Exael mining a finer and more elusive variant of ambient music, connecting dots between classic vapor-trail dub and hyper- modern inversions you’d more readily associate with 0PN or Kara-Lis Coverdale. With a richly refractive, iridescent quality, it marks the inward/outward distance travelled between concre`te and electronic textures and spatial parameters, manipulating notions of stasis and kinesis with an unfathomable, gaseous quality that also reminds us of classic Vladislav Delay and Robert Henke’s site-specific work.
From the milky plumes of ‘Into Deep’, thru the scudding subaquatic electro-dub of ‘Split’, to the bristling gunk of ‘Choeo3’ and the Wanda Group-like subsidence of ‘Cart’, to the lushly fractious flux of ‘Glass In Plastic (with Arad Acid)’ and ‘Anc Alt’, Exael maintains a cool head despite the disorienting G-force and upended context, elaborating a form of simulacra that uncannily reflects the real world’s realigned ideas about gender, mental health, and emotional wealth.
Offering a modernist re-vision of classic Chain Reaction and early 00’s dub inversions, it’s an uncanny reminder of a relatively recent era in electronic music that seems far out of reach in the present climate, a perfect accompaniment to that brilliant Pendant album that kicked this fine label off earlier this year.