CD Strength * [Exos] (CD 880674),
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Strength * [Exos]

  • 1. 2nd
    2. Greenscape
    3. Reds
    4. Where Is
    5. Survivor
    6. In Front Of
    7. In The
    8. At the End
    9. Begin
    10. With The
    11. Tjalduri I Vanda
    12. Birds in the Bedroom
    13. Stagm
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 4448

  • Credits

    Almost exactly a year after releasing his impressive debut full-length for Force Inc, Exos returns with a second, Strength, a much more varied collection of tracks. Many had praised his debut, Eleventh, for its rare ability to take an often monotonous style of music (hard minimal techno) and give it enough inventive twists to result in an album that was both engaging and continually interesting from beginning to end. Though few knew it at the time, this follow-up finds the Icelandic producer moving into even more creative territory, as hard as that is to imagine; Strength is one of the very few up-tempo minimal techno albums able to appeal to both the dancefloor-orientated crowd and the home-listening crowd equally. Hard, banging, and tracky, these songs function beautifully as DJ tools, capable of keeping the tempo pumping and also filled with enough changes to warrant a few minutes of uninterrupted play before the next mix. And for those uninterested in how DJ-friendly these tracks are, Exos manages to present enough variety here from one track to the next in terms of composition to keep the album's feel continually in a state of flux -- for example, one track may be powered by pounding 909s and weird glitch effects ("In Front Of"), the next may instead turn to bouncy dub beats and swirling echo sounds ("In The"), followed then by a tribal excursion centering around a looped yelp and phasing aquatic reverb ("At the End"), and so on. In sum, no two tracks here re-tread the same ground. Granted, they're all fairly intense and fairly pounding, but in terms of texture and composition, Exos makes the possibilities seem limitless -- a concept you'd never expect from the majority of hard, dancefloor-orientated techno producers circa 2001. In fact, few producers of such music have ever been able to piece together such an inviting album outside of perhaps Surgeon's late-'90s work for Tresor. Since most of Exos' peers specialize in a specific, patented approach better suited for the 12" format rather than a wide-ranging palette of compositional approaches better suited for the album format, he is practically in a league of his own at this period in time, making Strength an important album and proving that up-tempo, dancefloor-friendly hard minimal techno can still be inventive and album-orientated, as paradoxical as that may seem. ~ Jason Birchmeier

  • Critic Reviews
    Alternative Press (5/01, p.78) - 4 out of 5 - "...Iron-fisted dancefloor domination....exhibiting enough quirky sound design echoing around the margins to keep this from becoming generic..."
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