Exposé Online banner

Exit North — Book of Romance and Dust
((Not on label) EN 01, 2019, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-10-22

Book of Romance and Dust Cover art

When you listen to Exit North’s debut album, the first thing that will really stand out is the voice of Thomas Feiner, which resembles Scott Walker as much as anyone. He has a tone that is both breathy and full, dramatic and intimate, and is so closely recorded that every breath is starkly present. He is backed by atmospheric music that makes the average David Sylvian solo album seem like a disco hits compilation. The arrangements feature minimalistic piano backing and spacious keyboards to provide a gauzy, melancholy mood, with the sounds of violins and cellos occasionally filling in. Steve Jansen’s percussion is mostly subtle and understated, often not even involving a full drum kit. Feiner contributes trumpet from time to time, recalling Kenny Wheeler’s playing on early Sylvian albums. The esthetic is similar to the simple piano works of Erik Satie, with a kind of meditative calmness infused through the sound. “Lessons in Doubt” bumps up the energy level slightly, with sections sounding like a slowed-down French cabaret tune. “Losing” is a moody three and a half minute song stretched to over nine minutes by a fade-out so gradual you’ll suspect your player is malfunctioning. And then there’s “Passenger’s Wake,” which begins like the other songs, but crashes into a chorus with a heavy treated bass, pounding drums, and layers of active keyboards, then it’s back to the floating mood for a half minute or so, followed by a reprise of the heavy section. It is the only track on the whole album that rises above pianissimo, and while it’s actually quite good on its own, seems so out of place in this context that it’s quite jarring. In the growing field of atmospheric songcraft, Book of Romance and Dust is a beautiful entry, moody and expansive if a little frustrating in its stark intimacy — with that one exception.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Jansen, Exit North

More info
http://exitnorth.bandcamp.com/releases

Latest news

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Network - Corroded Path – This five-piece fusion outfit hails from the British Isles, led by guitarist Tim Crowther and drummer Steve Clarke. The band is rounded out by Ted Emmett (trumpet), Pete Jacobsen (keys) and Laurence...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues