Release Date: 19th July 2011
Label: Tympanik Audio
The French duo EX_TENSION is cooking their rhythmical industrial within their HQ for about 14 years now which have seen them putting out couple of highly rated releases in the genre like the 'Needles' EP or their CDr album release 'Freedom' that has been re-released with fresh remastering by emerging label Signifier recently. One of their earlier efforts, the 'Desert' EP has been picked now by Tympanik Audio for a re-release.
The EP's title track, starting the disc, clocks in at about 32 minutes and by that fact alone indicates you gotta be highly concentrated to survive this trip. The duo's taking the classical route of building a track here by gradually laying sounds upon each other with an emphasis on gradually. They're leaving as much time as the listener needs to fully embrace the recently introduced sound before adding the next one, may it be another rhythmic detail or a sombre atmosphere in the later stages of 'Desert'. It is indeed a demanding journey, but it tuns out just as rewarding. Less atmospheric , hence focused on patterns is the second track 'Journey' incorporating bubbling beat patterns and putting a mesmerizing sine wave atop. 'Aura' mesmerizes in a different way. While it was the rhythmical in the track before, this one is an acoustic trigger with the bells reaching deep into your subconscious. 'Tension 6' is more of a nightmarish sound collage than an actual track. It is filled with atmosphere fragments of vocal samples mutilated beyond recognition and a few well-placed, slightly distorted bass drums.
For the "Outro" a few well-known names joined forces and created a mutual rendition of 'Desert'. Participating artists were ACCESS TO ARASAKA, TOTAKEKE, ZENTRIERT INS ANTLITZ, GEOMATIC and SONIC AREA. Each one of them recreated a section of the track, starting with ACCESS TO ARASAKA. Keeping the core sound intact he's elevating it to an intricate level in the rhythmical department while adding the trademark ambient sounds.. The scenery changes when Frank Mokros is taking is taking over. He' s shifting towards an electrifying industrial mash-up. GEOMATIC continue in a similar vein but with a healthy injection of noise and spacey ambient. The collab is being wrapped up by SONIC AREA with broken and distorted beats with an underlying current of menace.
All in all, the last one is the better version of 'Desert' for my tastes as it bundles more diversity in its 23 minutes than the other in 32. No offence. The compact tracks on the EP however keep your attention all the way through which brings me to the conclusion that the EX_TENSION sound works way better on a small scale.
01. Desert - 31.51
02. Journey - 6.08
03. Aura - 7.21
04. Tension 6 - 4.46
05. Desert (according to...) - 23.02
http://ex.tension.free.fr/ / http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ex_Tension/303004976687
Total: 8 / 10