exm :: Singles (Touched Music)

2016 has proven to be a minefield of extensive electronic music releases and exm‘s foray into distilled experimental fragments allows Singles to flourish in a field of its own.

exm :: Singles (Touched Music)

Netherlands-based Jeroen Bax (aka exm) has had a few words featured in these pages and continues to manifest bold yet cohesive electronic sound-structures with Singles, released in conjunction with Touch Music.

As we are still fresh off the heels of Datach’i’s return via System (Timesig, 2016), it’s his 19 bonus tracks that have taken on a life of their own. Such is the case with exm’s Singles. One could easily pull an extended player and/or two full-length albums from these 26 fully-fledged mechanical beauties. These snapshots unravel and reveal intricate and propulsive shifts in the exp-electronic music genre. And just as Datach’i, exm’s singles are as baffling and mind-numbing—in a good way. One can also compare and contrast with Autechre’s recently released elseq 1–5 (Warp, 2016) and its constantly shifting focus to Carbinax on his 33-track Snowglobe Citizen (Self-Release, 2016)—described as being fueled by the tension created between sharply contrasting elements. At opposite ends of the spectrum, 2016 has shaped itself to be the year of releasing massive amounts of music.

But what do the above-mentioned artists have in common? For one, they all adapt to a plethora of ideas that mutate and migrate into other lively shapes. Secondly, they take their sonic experiments to the extreme in both composition and theme. Thirdly, they seamlessly stitch refined ambient tentacles all the while expanding on robust rhythms, minuscule melodies and odd time-signatures with the use of fine-tuned hardware and software. Their broken-beat barrage-collages are strung by glitch elements tapping rigorously on the windscreen and Singles takes the above quasi-formula to epic proportion. Highlights such as “Pillow,” “vol.ment,” “Cli” and “Cone of Humma Kavula” are a brimful of abstract musical auras and vistas. Then there are the elongated electrical rainstorms featured on “Evolving,” “Move Section” and “Be Gone Evil One” that simply do not let go—taking the scenic route so to speak. And yet, these are just brief touching points as the in-between tracks have their own detailed stories to tell.

2016 has proven to be a minefield of extensive electronic music releases and exm’s foray into distilled experimental fragments allows Singles to flourish in a field of its own.

Singles is available on Touched Music.

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