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 concrète 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.