EXEC - 'The Limber Real'
We almost got around to mentioning EXEC, the latest musical project of Danish musician and producer Troels Abrahamsen before Christmas, when he released a couple of singles that quite rightly received a lot of coverage on other websites and blogs. But we are attempting to cover more Album releases, so it seemed right in the end to wait for the formal release of his album ‘The Limber Real’, which came out 2 weeks ago.
It is a pretty astonishing release, musically exquisite, lyrically fraught and emotional, and whilst the overall effect is intense and at times challenging, it is without question an album which I’ve genuinely grown to love already. Based almost entirely around piano, there is firstly a real sense of musical virtuosity, as well as a confidence in being able to deliver something profound around relatively simple instrumentation. Vocally it is distinct, and takes a while to adapt to, whilst the lyrics are worthy of a book of poetry, or something similar.
Given that there’s 14 tracks on ‘The Limber Real’ you might already think that this all sounds arduous, but one of the attractions of the albums is that Troel Abrahamsen doesn’t always use traditional ‘structures’, he uses ideas sparingly, never over used and this gives them an even greater powerful effect. After the opening ‘Controlled Environments’ for example, we’re treated to ‘Blink’, a fleeting 1 minutes 30 of song ending poised on the line ‘We think we’re creators, whilst we redecorate’. Pre- album release single ‘The Explanatory Gap’ is equally succinct , I love the flowing piano and the clever emphasis on individual notes, and by the time I reach ‘Hymn’ I feel myself drawn into the EXEC world.
After the imaginative piano solo ‘Intermission’, we’re treated the brilliant ‘Full of Knots’, which lyrically and musically is the high point of album – yes it is bleak, but in such a dark and humourously expressive way… ‘A soul full of knots is better than having no soul at all / A body that rots beats having no body at all / But my head, oh my head, can I have someone else's instead?’. Whilst I find ‘Bodies’ slightly harder to like, ‘Going Under’ is an utterly beautiful track, whilst the ‘Limber Real’ itself has the most dramatic and effective use of a piano ‘calamity’ to link with the refrain ‘How can I be sure that it won’t lead to your demise’ (even if did lead me to leap from my seat on the darkest and wettest night driving between Macclesfield and Leek).
It does go without saying that this an album which needs time and investment, but the rewards are greater than most album releases. Powerful, dark, intense, EXEC manages to deliver a musically outstanding and thought provoking album which I think will be recognized and appreciated for years to come, and is another excellent addition to the Troels Abrahamsen back catalogue.
Nordic Music Review 8.5 /10
The Limber Real is out on the excellent Tambourhinoceros label