‘Large Electric Ensemble’ by Ex-Easter Island Head comprises four movements of no-wave infused chamber klang-symphony; lushly realised and rich in reverberating overtones. The album was recorded live over two days with local Nottingham musicians after a commission from the World Event Young Artist festival; this piece has evolved from its first inception, debuted at the festival. It combines 12 prepared electric guitars and drums in a richly textural and propulsive composition. The guitars are fascinating in the breadth of sound they explore: sparkling chimes, thick ringing gongs, a ripple of rain on tin, aquatic sulphurous burbling; the second movement utilises all of this and drifts with an ambient grace that is entirely hypnotic; approaching and receding with a gentle tidal motion. The first, third and fourth movements, in contrast, are focussed on forward movement, with an emphasis on driving rhythm to push the massed guitars forward, the drums dragging the group along a rushing motorik sonic-parallax, the percussion lending a tilted perspective on the tightly-processing ensemble.
‘Large Electric Ensemble’ is a brilliant achievement, recalling Sonic Youth at their most stretched out; a less bilious Glenn Branca; Steve Reich at his most entrancing. An intricate adrenal rush of intricate large-scale communal music-making, Ex-Easter Island Head are a guitar orchestra not merely concerned with the conjuring of sturm-und-drang like some other similar groups, but also the creation of beautifully accomplished rhythmic constructions; compositions that should bear countless re-visits.