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

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Barrock - L'Alchimista – Barrock are a new Italian sextet who decided to release and distribute their debut L'Alchimista in Japan. The music is influenced by many Italian 70s bands like Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Premiata...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues