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Experimental/Post Metal • United States

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Ex Eye biography
Founded in NYC, New York, USA in 2016

EX EYE is an experimental post-metal quartet founded by saxophonist Colin STETSON, with LITURGY'S Greg FOX on drums, synthesist Shahzad ISMAILY (SECRET CHIEFS 3, CERAMIC DOG), and guitarist Toby SUMMERFIELD (NEVER ENOUGH HOPE, CRUSH KILL DESTROY, LARVAL). The band grew out of the sessions for StETSON'S SORROW: A Reimagining of Gorecki's 3rd Symphony, on which both Ismaily and Fox had played. Summerfield and Stetson were longtime friends and collaborators, dating back to high school in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Almost immediately after forming, the band made a series of festival performances including Roskilde Festival (Denmark), Red Bull Music Academy (Montreal), CTM Festival (Germany), and Eaux Claires Fest (U.S.). The band's live reputation, as well as their crushing studio demos, led to their signing with Relapse Records. Their self-titled debut album was cut live at Ismaily's Figure 8 Studios in Brooklyn, New York; the finished album was issued in June 2017, as EX EYE embarked on a summer tour.

EX EYE makes music of power, control, motion and intention; music composed with precise, clockwork intricacy and ecstatic abandon. It is hard, heavy music aggressive, cathartic, and thrilling.

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EX EYE discography

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3.98 | 13 ratings
Ex Eye

EX EYE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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EX EYE Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ex Eye by EX EYE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 13 ratings

Ex Eye
Ex Eye Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Post-rock? Post-metal? Post-jazz? or Post-psychedelia? Well, all of the above actually. EX EYE is a new kid on the block and making a whole lot of noise without resorting to cliche been-there done-that retro worship. This quartet of seasoned veterans formed in New York City consists of alto and bass saxophonist Colin Stetson ( Eternal Buzz Brass Band, The Sway Machinery, Transmission Trio ), guitarist Toby Summerfield ( Algernon, Crush Kill Destroy, Never Enough Hope ), synthesizer wizard Shahzad Ismaily ( 2 Foot Yard, Barbez, Burnt Sugar, Causing A Tiger, Ceramic Dog, Doveman, Kotkot, Pure Horsehair and Secret Chiefs 3 ) and drummer Greg Fox ( Guardian Alien, Liturgy, Teeth Mountain, Zs). EX EYE is one of those avant-garde type groups that is similar to others like Zu and Aluk Todolo and succeeds in creating a sort of frenetic drone type music, that meaning a very hypnotic anchoring system with a hornet's nest of buzzing instruments that swirl around its center with extra attention on hyperactive saxophone attacks, black metal riffs that dance in the dark with oscillating swirling synthesizer sounds.

While the post-metal tag genre tag has traditionally been somewhat synonymous with sludge metal such as with bands like Neurosis and Isis pretty much fitting into both worlds, the two subgenera are not exactly identical at all. Sludge metal is derived primarily from doom metal with aggressive emphasis on guitar feedback and groovy riffs and angry vocals often bordering on hardcore punk whereas post-metal owes its atmospheric hypnotic riffs and grooves more to the world of post-rock which focuses on long drawn out and repetitive passages that slowly shift the dynamics of the atmosphere and tempos. EX EYE is more of the latter but does exhibit both styles as they are conservative with root notes and profligate with the subtle and abrupt changes around them. The end result is a very groovy and hypnotic drift through frenzied sax and guitar solos and complex flurries of synthesized bliss that deftly blend the simplistic with an array of complex counterpoints. The band is also unique as far as i know in that they substitute the bass guitar with a bass saxophone. Their debut eponymous album consists of four mostly lengthy tracks and there is a bonus twelve minute track on digital forms.

"Xenolith; The Anvil" (3:55) is the shortest track that carries a repetitive almost funk type groove that extends pretty much throughout. Graced with a heavy dramatic technical drum workout to dazzle us upon first listen, the track quickly chills out with a lackadaisical percussive drive as the groove unfolds slowly followed by the guitar and sax counterpoints that ratchet up the tension. "Opposition/Perihelion; The Coil" (12:29) takes on a new persona with a syncopated drum and bass sax line on hyperdrive and stuck in a two note groove that eventually takes on a slight musical scale and is the track that sounds most like Aluk Todolo however just when you think the groove is set on cruise control it changes things up with a partial melodic change. After the frenetic intro, the guitar becomes sludgy and slows down while the saxophone parts become fuel injected as if they are channeling John Zorn at his most caffeinated.

"Anaitis Hymnal; The Arkose Disc" (11:56) makes me think a Klaus Schulze CD has been slipped into my player as a dark and brooding electronic storms brews with a dreadful hum and a swarm of insectoid aliens flying ahead. The percussion joins in but as an intermittent tom strike that feels as if a sole giant is thundering the Earth as he walks upon its fragile crust. As the synth takes me to Neptune, the sax gains power as an oscillating beacon of terror and then, the final straw breaks the camel's back as the relentless blastbeat drumming adds the final fear inducing ingredient as the sax goes even crazier and the instruments all start to fade in and out of tune with each other until they reach a terrifying frenetic climax. Yes, indeed. This is the soundtrack of nightmares. "Form Constant; The Grid" (8:08) delivers an oscillating sax attack that is accompanied by a high pitched atmospheric backdrop before it all goes nuts with frenetic nonstop avant-garde jazz sax noodling, guitar bombast and a minimalist synthesizer sequence that reminds me of Philip Glass' "Glassworks" and "Koyaanisqatsi" era.

Tten Crows : The Corruptor" (bonus track digital only) (12:01) is surprisingly quite different from the rest of the pack and the most bizarre. It consists of an intermittent guitar riffs, somewhat lazy following percussive drive and a frenetic synth and sax dueling it out. This one actually has more of a drawn out melody although every note is amplified by sax shredding and atmospheric weirdness. The guitar is also much more aggressive as it enters pure metal territory. In the middle it changes into some sort of Latin percussion with an acid jazz type of keyboard run. The guitar fuzz is thicker on this one and there is more of guitar dominated soloing that steals the show from the attention hog saxophone parts. This one is pretty cool and just as good as the other four tracks. Unfortunately i have the CD so it's not on there.

EX EYE crank out a fairly sophisticated mix of minimalistic grooves wrapped up in jazzy saxophone virtuosity and psychedelic atmospheric ambience. The guitar, while present is usually reserved for power chords with the odd dominant riff entering the scene but is always in the background. All the musicians rely on intricate interplay and although certain segments showcase a retrospective instrument, the overall fabric of the music is very much dependent on how it's all woven together. The repetitive groovy feel is extremely hypnotic while the overly busy counterpoints whizz around like a swarm of wasps that just had their nest knocked to the ground. While this isn't as avant-garde and weird as it's made out to be since it's in the same musical experimental tree as bands like Aluk Todolo and Zu, EX EYE does however stand out as a fairly unique sounding outfit. Whether this pans out to be a full time project or not remains to be seen, but as for now EX EYE has conjured up a satisfying slice of hypnotic varied post- metal with all kinds of frenetic accoutrements that take the listener into dark musical soundscapes.

 Ex Eye by EX EYE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 13 ratings

Ex Eye
Ex Eye Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars EX EYE are a new band out of the USA but the members are all experienced musicians to say the least. Colin Stetson is incredible on sax while SECRET CHIEFS 3 multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily adds bass and synths. We also get Toby Summerfield on guitar and Greg Fox on drums rounding out the lineup. These guys had helped Colin with one of his solo albums and they decided to get together to make some music of their own. The music reminded me somewhat of the American band YETI. This is Post-Metal and it's dark and usually quite intense and powerful. It's all instrumental with four tracks although I did get the bonus track with the download.

"Xenolith; The Anvil" gets us started and it's drums and a heavy sound right from the first notes but it settles quickly with synths and drums. The guitar does come in over top in the Post-Rock tradition. The sax runs come and go starting 2 1/2 minutes in.

"Opposition/ Perihelion; The Coil" is uptempo with the guitar and drums standing out. Intense is the word. It settles back after 2 minutes tempo-wise but it's still intense. It kicks in again after 2 1/2 minutes including some great sounding bass. The guitar is ripping it up then some powerful pulsating sounds kick in before 4 1/2 minutes. Just an all out assault really that includes sax after 5 minutes. A dark calm before 6 minutes as sounds like drums and bass come and go, sax too. Love this section. It starts to wind down late as we get an experimental ending.

"Anaitis Hymnal; The Arkose Disc" could be the soundtrack to the apocalypse. A dark atmosphere to start with guitar expressions and more. Drums start to slowly beat as they come and go starting before 1 1/2 minutes. Synths sort of drone in and out as well as it slowly builds, sax too. The intensity is rising quickly before 4 minutes. So powerful and it's unrelenting until before 5 minutes as we get some minor relief with the sax and drums coming to the fore. The sax then steps aside and the sound will start to become more intense like earlier. Is that someone crying out before 8 1/2 minutes? Sax follows. It's almost doom-like before 11 minutes. So dark and haunting when it settles back and this continues right to the end.

"Form Constant; The Grid" opens with sax and pulsating sounds. The drums start to beat after 1 1/2 minutes and picked guitar joins in as well. A heavier, doomy sound takes over before 3 minutes. It does lighten up some and takes off before 4 1/2 minutes with Post-Rock styled guitar. This is still heavy and the sax is still lighting it up.

"Tten Crown; The Corrupter" is a bonus track but it really should be part of the main album in my opinion. It is similar to the rest but I would describe it as being more innovative and interesting. My favourite really but bonus tracks don't affect my rating either positively or negatively when I do reviews. I really like the guitar around 5 1/2 minutes.

This is one dark and intense album that ticks a lot of boxes for me when we're talking Post-Metal. Each member really blows me away here with their skills.

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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