Low - The Exit Papers

by Jeff Penczak Rating:4 Release Date:2016-09-30

Temporary Residence continues their 20th anniversary celebration with the first wide release of Low’s rarest release, their 2000 contribution to the label’s Travels In Constants series. The half hour album consists of six untitled experimental pieces that, for the most part, jettison Mimi Parker’s vocals for a series of sparse clanging noises that are of little interest to listeners outside the metallic industrialised concoctions of Faust, Einstürzende Neubauten, Throbbing Gristle, and Skinny Puppy. The wordless vocals in track 1 are as haunting as anything in their catalogue and emphasize the project’s cinematic concept – the tunes were originally intended to highlight the cinematic quality of their work and perhaps soundtrack a film, but Hollywood passed on the offer.

The percussive effects and tinkling keyboards on track three would’ve worked well in an episode of The X-Files and give Mogwai’s Les Revenants soundtrack a run for its money. Much of the music is ominous, yet nebulous in that vague sort of way that film soundtracks without visuals can quickly become very boring. The main offender is the 15-minute centrepiece (track four) that is little more than random electronic sound bursts that are more grating than evocative and sounds like something left over from The Conet Project.

So a few points for pushing the envelope and stepping outside their comfort zone, but the experimental world is not for them and we’re glad they abandoned it. Recommended only to strong stomachs and fans of experimental, non-linear noises. Fans of the band’s more traditional releases will be disappointed, as it’s not really an album at all, but a collection of sounds assembled to illustrate possible music cues for a film that never happened. Coil, Nurse With Wound, and others have mined this field to greater effect – just check out any of the fan-built videos that accompany their music on YouTube.

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