An uncompromising debut album that explores the collective psyches and diverse influences of its renowned members. The focus is on songcraft that seamlessly combines genres and lyrical perspectives that shift between shadows and light. Exit North’s “Book of Romance and Dust” traces the edges of darkness and hope across a nuanced, provocative song cycle
Exit North is a new quartet featuring Japan co-founder Steve Jansen, Thomas Feiner, Ulf Jansson, and Charlie Storm. A co-writing partnership first formed when Feiner worked with Jansen on his solo albums “Slope” (2007). In 2014 they enlisted Ulf Jansson and Charles Storm to form Exit North. Over a 4-year collaborative timeline, Steve Jansen, Charlie Storm and Thomas Feiner have contributed in multi-instrumentalist capacities and Ulf Jansson has focused on piano and keyboards.
All the instruments one associates with the world of rock are involved, but employed within an eclectic mindset. The recording also features trumpet, harmonium and a string quintet. Legendary jazz bassist Lars Danielsson contributes upright bass. Feiner’s deep, rich vocals are vivid and emotional. They pair perfectly with the recording’s spectral qualities, incorporating the ambient and orchestral, the meditative and kinetic. The album is one that rewards repeated engagement. Full of layers and complex lyrical turns of phrase, the record requires an investment to absorb. It also includes an instrumental in North that finds Jansson conveying melodic intrigue in the absence of a voice.
“The group has a patience and attention to detail that I find rare to come across these days,” said Jansen. “Most people want to rush the process and find the nuggets as quickly as possible, but the years spent on this album have been well worth it. The recording reflects a constant pursuit for the best we can achieve without a concern for the time it takes. This type of music is timeless, so there is no bandwagon to rush towards. We each have great attention to detail and a determination to avoid superfluous musical and lyrical content. We wanted to dig deep and express our connections with music and make the type of album we felt represented a culmination of our years of experience.”
A co-writing partnership first formed when Feiner worked with Jansen on his 2007 solo album “Slope.” Jansen sensed a kindred spirit and pursued a long-term working relationship. Feiner was already partnering with Jansson on other projects and brought him into the fold. The trio officially planted the seeds for a new group. Feiner then realised the potential of inviting renowned Swedish producer and engineer Charles Storm to join the group. The two met years earlier at a Jansen performance in Stockholm, so Feiner was aware of Storm’s appreciation for Jansen’s previous output. They also had a mutual friend in Jansson. Everyone felt a sense of trust, shared experiences and camaraderie that informed their sessions.
“The creative process for us is successful because we can communicate progress in composition and structure without being too precious about personal choices,” said Jansen. “The tracks have been through a number of changes and this process of raising the bar was only achieved by never resting on our laurels or believing one person’s own way is the best way. It’s truly a collaborative band in that sense. It’s why we credit all the music to the entire group.”
“There is something exciting and new about the music on this record….it is the impression of a perfect band playing together in a musical realm that is as close to perfect beauty as it could be.” – Sputnik Music
Exit North is truly about generating an aural gravity that pulls the best out of its participants. Those who admire Jansen’s instrumental, experimental solo output, as well as his song-based work with Japan and Rain Tree Crow, will find much to enjoy on “Book of Romance and Dust.” Similarly, the audience Feiner has cultivated with his group Anywhen and its acclaimed recording “The Opiates,” will encounter a related, spacious aesthetic. Jansson and Storm have also worked on countless sessions across myriad genres that have enriched the global mindset they brought to this expansive ensemble.
Available April 12, 2019.
For more information:
Inner Knot Records:
Donate to IndiePulse Music Magazine’s Academic and Music Education Scholarship Program HeartBeat4Kids
IndiePulse Music Magazine creates Scholarships to help Youth In Need of assistance to complete their educational goals and stay in school.