Artist: Exercise One
Title: Tales of Ordinary Madness
Format: CD, digital, 3×12” box set
Release Dates: CD/LP/digital – 4th November 2013 EP 1 – 8th October/ EP 2 – 4th November/ EP 3 – 5th December.
Cat. #: E Exone1
EP1 Tales of Ordinary Madness 1/3
A1 Verlooka – vinyl & digital
A2 Gatium – vinyl & digital
B1 12 Years (Sigha´s Version) – vinyl only
B2 Top Score – Stop Thinking! (Deadbeat Remix) – vinyl only
3. Where Is My Keyboard (Jeremy P. Caulﬁeld Remix) – digital only
4. Debaya (Anja Schneider Remix) – digital only
To mark a decade of their live techno outfit, Exercise One release a new album and series of vinyl remix EPs by friends and fellow travellers from along the road. Choosing 10 remixes for their 10 years of performing live and 9 tracks on the album for 9 years of releasing records.
The close duo of Marco Freivogel and Ingo Gansera have spent the past decade recording and performing live as Exercise One, collaborating, remixing and running two independent labels all their own way. Already seasoned live performers when they met, Marco’s early years were spent absorbed in goth culture & industrial music while Ingo leads a double life as the drummer of a Berlin punk band. These influences fuel their old school Kreuzberg DIY vibe as well as injecting their brand of techno with a warmth and vibrancy that bursts from every exuberant record and infectious performance. Their energy mixed with an abundance of creativity has helped to seal their musical world view, that music production and performance should have a symbiotic relationship.
Early on, Exercise One created their own label Lan Muzic, where they put out the first techno releases of Peter Van Hoesen and Philip Sherburne, as well as Donato Dozzy and Jacopo Carreras. Their debut album was released on Anja Schneider’s Mobilee Records, with 12”s over the years on Dumb Unit, Cocoon and Wagon Repair as well as remixes for a host of others too numerous to name. Most recently they have recorded almost exclusively for their former bootleg label Exone alongside collaborators like Mathew Jonson, Matilda, Mike Shannon and Deadbeat. In the last two years Exercise One completely overhauled their live PA, throwing out the computer and returning to the root of techno armed with an arsenal of blustering analog machines. It’s a testament to their belief that music and techno should be alive, with their music always guided by the spirit and flow of improvisation, driven forward by the tension of their real time on stage interaction and ability to go “off script” that make their performances more exciting and dynamic than the norm.
‘Same Story’ sets the scene for the album, with the duos musicality illustrated in the sea of gauzy pads that unfurl over an increasingly skewed rhythm. After succumbing to a cacophony of resonant percussion the focus is shifted to the floor, with the unyielding 4×4 thump and haunting motifs of ‘Verlooka’ ushering in tracks that capture the vitality of the pairs much lauded live act. ‘Gatium’ finds them at their most arresting, exercising the kind of restraint that renders every spluttering synth-line utterly captivating before ‘Electric Glare’ revs into action with a dank riff locking itself on top of a feverish bassline. After the cinematic ‘Stay’ serves as a blissful palette cleanser we’re back on the pulse with the jacking sensibilities of ’33 To Pay The Rent’ and the abrasive thuds of ‘The Raven’, perhaps their most stark work to date. Penultimate track ‘Outshine’ masterfully reintroduces ethereal hints of melancholia over an undulating groove. Finally ‘Look At The Harlequins’ serves as an album closer like none other, a perfect distillation of a sound that unfolds like a dystopian nightmare; but one that’s sure to play a part in the most hedonistic moments of dancefloor abandon.
For the EPs, Exercise One invited some of their talented friends from along the journey to remix their favourite tracks of the duo’s back catalogue, for vinyl and digital release. The relationship with each chosen remixer is a story of its own woven across the years, too many anecdotes for this press release but buy them a Hefeweizen and they’ll happily share those tales.
On EP 1 former studio mate Deadbeat turns in a dub-indebted remix of the Cocoon released ‘Top Score’ that’s all spaced stabs and booming kicks. Sigha drains the colour and offers up a typically stark translation of ’12 Years’ that juxtaposes Dumb Unit boss Jeremy P Caulfield’s growling adaptation of ‘Where Is My Keyboard’ and the playful bounce of Anja Schneider’s rework of the duo’s Mobilee club hit ‘Debaya’. EP 2 continues the overrun of talent with Ewan Pearson masterfully remixing in typically grandiose style, putting on the breaks and laying down an irresistible groove from which he tinkers with thick swathes of valve-heated melodies and bulbous bass. Alex Smoke’s charred contribution has an air of narcotic outlandishness with the swirl of Farsi poetry recorded by close Persian friends of the duo in their old flooded basement studio. And Berlin band subQ10x cover Exercise One’s very first release ‘Roll With U’, with Ingo on drums. EP 3 sees Peter Van Hoesen ‘Wandering’ with a swaggering low-end and kitchen-sink percussion that gifts Donato Dozzy the opportunity to pick up the pace and instil a hint of malicious intent with his dust-treated version of ‘Prowl’. Finally the duo’s dearest mad professor Jacopo Carreras pulls us out of the trip and places us firmly back on the dancefloor. Where it all begins and ends.