Tales of Ordinary Madness
To mark a decade of their live techno outfit, Exercise One release a new album by choosing 10 remixes for their 10 years of performing live and nine tracks on the album for nine years of releasing records. The close duo of Marco Freivogel and Ingo Gansera have spent the past decade recording and performing live as Exercise One, collaborating, remixing and running two independent labels all their own way. Already seasoned live performers when they met, Marco's early years were spent absorbed in goth culture and industrial music, while Ingo leads a double life as the drummer of a Berlin punk band. These influences fuel their old school Kreuzberg DIY vibe as well as injecting their brand of techno with a warmth and vibrancy that bursts from every exuberant record and infectious performance. Their energy mixed with an abundance of creativity has helped to seal their musical world view, that music production and performance should have a symbiotic relationship. Early on, Exercise One created their own label Lan Muzic, where they put out the first techno releases of Peter Van Hoesen and Philip Sherburne, as well as Donato Dozzy and Jacopo Carreras. Their debut album was released on Anja Schneider's Mobilee Records, with 12"s over the years on Dumb Unit, Cocoon, and Wagon Repair as well as remixes for a host of others too numerous to name. Most recently they have recorded almost exclusively for their former bootleg label Exone alongside collaborators like Mathew Jonson, Matilda, Mike Shannon, and Deadbeat. In the last two years, Exercise One completely overhauled their live PA, throwing out the computer and returning to the root of techno armed with an arsenal of blustering analog machines. It's a testament to their belief that music and techno should be alive, with their music always guided by the spirit and flow of improvisation, driven forward by the tension of their real-time onstage interaction and ability to go "off script" that makes their performances more exciting and dynamic than the norm. "Same Story" sets the scene for the album, with the duo's musicality illustrated in the sea of gauzy pads that unfurl over an increasingly skewed rhythm. After succumbing to a cacophony of resonant percussion, the focus is shifted to the floor, with the unyielding 4x4 thump and haunting motifs of "Verlooka" ushering in tracks that capture the vitality of the pair's much-lauded live act. "Gatium" finds them at their most arresting, exercising the kind of restraint that renders every spluttering synth-line utterly captivating before "Electric Glare" revs into action with a dank riff locking itself on top of a feverish bass line. After the cinematic "Stay" serves as a blissful palette cleanser, we're back on the pulse with the jacking sensibilities of "33 to Pay the Rent" and the abrasive thuds of "The Raven," perhaps their most stark work to date. Penultimate track "Outshine" masterfully reintroduces ethereal hints of melancholia over an undulating groove. Finally "Look at the Harlequins" serves as an album closer like none other, a perfect distillation of a sound that unfolds like a dystopian nightmare; but one that's sure to play a part in the most hedonistic moments of dancefloor abandon.