What’s in a song?: The Explanatory Gap – EXEC

It may appear to the untrained eye that I am being fraudulent in my claims to love the hunt for new music; such is the regularity that I return to certain subjects. I make no apologies. I believe that truly good music and truly inspirational artists deserve more than 700 words on some backwater blog. They deserve multiple entries charting the paths they take, each reflecting a different aspect and together building a rich portrait of who these people are. By reading through the various posts I have written about Bowie, for example, you can see how excited I was for The Next Day before deflating at it’s actual release. It wasn’t bad, it just lacked the personality I expected. This wasn’t helped by his passable foray into full Jazz which, at the time, I saw as treading water. To read those alone would likely paint a negative view of each work, but to read them together would fill in the argument in ways one post could not. So, after one year and much referencing, we return to Troels Abrahamsen. A man whose story is ever evolving along with his music. A man who deserves more than a fumbling jumble of words about a song. As he releases his latest incarnation, let’s fill in the picture a little.

EXEC. Names are important. They hold weight. Yet they are also useful devices for splitting the chaos and confliction within every interesting musician into manageable chunks. People get confused if you release music of differing genres under the same name (and especially on the same record), an experience I have had first hand. So knowing this, and also knowing Troels’ work it’s clear that a song like ‘The Explanatory Gap’ couldn’t hold as much power were it released under his own name; sitting awkwardly as it would amongst the electronica. We’d always be waiting for some jitter or jarring edit to start a beat, or some processed audio to pull our ears away from the solid root of simple acoustic sound. No, EXEC is a different page and this gives Troels the freedom to fully express himself as a performer and artist.

A little known fact is that far from being doors to untapped potential, computers are actually utterly restrictive. Creatively that is. We’ve moved beyond those glorious Wild West days of early musical synthesis and discovery where anything you made would likely push some boundary or other. Exciting, rose-tinted times where the majority of modern electronic musicians still look to get the inspiration needed to build the future. However there are serious creative problems in the ease with which we can ape the sounds of the past. What used to take a solid grounding in basic engineering now only requires an app and any grit found in a mix can be ironed out with a catch-all mastering program. The struggle and craft required to make computer music has almost gone and what little remains is slowly being smothered under all the bedroom DJs. This isn’t a petulant rant, more a stating of facts; because under these circumstances there is almost no sense of achievement in creating something. I often find it hard to appreciate my own music because it has felt so easy and unfulfilling purely for it’s electronic beginnings. It’s likely this is a trap Troels must have found himself in (though, to be honest, his output is one of the few that actually succeeds in pushing the form forward). Yet with EXEC he can ignore all that trickery and rely wholly on his naked talent and ambition. Just one man and a piano with all the world watching. Brave man.

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Having first come to Troels through his band VETO, he has become synonymous to me with experimental alt-rock and percussive, rhythmic vocal patterns. They are a band defined by their energy. Later still I listened to the heavily electronic I Know That You Know and the icy alt-electro of BLCK, creating a pretty solid picture of where his creative mind stood. Now we see a far deeper picture, one of passion and craft trumping the ease of electronics. The power of what I have heard impresses me and connects with something tangible, that desire in me to properly craft something again. Less electronics, maybe, but certainly more playing. More performing. Keeping one foot rooted to the ground to see what happens. EXEC is a beautiful and intimate and bold project. Filling in colours you never knew were missing. Troels is fascinating, I look forward to see where his story takes him next.

The Limber Real by EXEC is out on February 12th. Pre-order it here.

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WAIT! Small important news all you glorious few: this Friday sees the release of the new rryrry EP, a popup village. rryrry is my musical solo project; performed, recorded and produced on my lonesome in my damp shed. I wear rryrry as Troels wears EXEC, different names for different times. ALSO! In these days of giving; it is my 30th on Saturday so as a treat I’m going to let you listen to the EP (or indeed, buy it) a few days early. Just click here: rryrry – a popup village.

If you like it, tell your friends. That’s how it works these days.

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