Ex Libras
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Ex Libras

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
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Having handed out flyers for a few hours in the most entertaining way possible (including Wil back-peddling with arms outstretched to ensure maximum obstruction value) The 405 boys headed downstairs to join the already substantial crowd to check out the openers Ex Libras.

A small buzz had already grown up around the three piece melodic post-rock band comprised of Keiran, Ross and Amit (who kindly provides us with their Artist Picks here) due to us having heard their debut album (out in November!). What transpired was a set of mesmeric, heart-wrenching intensity that left a few members of the audience semi-speechless.


From the opening vocal lines drifting effortlessly through octaves, the precise but expressive beats and minimalist keyboards it was obvious that Ex Libras knew their stuff. An atmospheric and melodic opening song was followed swiftly by a roughly 5 minute instrumental break so sparse as to almost fade away completely; crucially the intensity and subtlety of the ambient effects kept the audience on tenterhooks. The inevitable climax was devastatingly effective, as where the following soundscapes; ranging through crunch soaked tech breakdowns through thrashy, mad delay swirls to staccato. - www.thefourohfive.com


The trio met while working as librarians in Hounslow, an inauspicious start which give little hint of the drama contained in their music. Bonding over a shared love of "alternative music with a groove", the trio combine piano, upfront drums and a guitar that runs from considered picking to nuclear assault.


Today's track, 'Radar', showcases the band nicely, setting up a bold groove before piano, vocal and guitar join and develop things nicely before sprinting for the line in the song's dying sixty seconds.


Ex Libras are to release their debut album 'Suite(s)' on 30th November on Wirebird Records. - Clash Magazine


Three library employees discover they share the same taste in music and start a band. This roughly sums up the aptly named Ex Libras, a London trio whose collective music collection in all likelihood contain more than one post-rock record.
A drum, sampling and loop-happy ensemble, Ex Libras find themselves walking in between the footpaths of Battles and 65 Days Of Static, although treading outside the jazz-referencing complexity of Tyondai Braxton and the oft-robotic instrumental compositions of 65 Days.., rather opting for the majestic peaks and finales so masterfully crafted by the likes of Mogwai.
Radar then, taken from their debut album Suite(s), released November 30, circles in on a slow-burning Field Music-esque first half before adding speed and power for a magnificent climax of math-rockish chaos. Fascinating. - Q Magazine


Though recorded in a garden shed by a trio who met while working in Hounslow Borough Library, these mundane beginnings don’t readily set you up for Ex Libras’ debut album, ‘Suite(s)’.
The kindred spirits, however, have gelled their love of “alternative music with a groove” into a post-rock (or post-breakbeat as they’d have it) dynamic maelstrom of guitar, piano, drums and atmospherics. Underpinning their excursions with a solid core of melody gives their songs an immediacy, draw in the casual listener, and those moments when vocalist Amit Sharma breaks through are worth treasuring, his howls on closer ‘19:04’ recalling Matt Bellamy or Sigur Ros’ Jonsi.
A bold, impressive debut.
7/10
Words by Nick Annan - www.clashmusic.com


This should be ‘Album of the week’
A mix of ambient rock, lo-fi layering and epic soundscapes, Ex Libras – Suite(s), provides just over 42 minutes of gut wrenching and seemingly effortless sound creation that verges on experimental. The 8 track release is quite simply a truly stunning debut.




Clearly tailored to live performances, the ....London.... based 3-piece have managed to transfer their stage skills to the recording studio resulting in an emotive and honest collection of music.




Track 1, Issue, gently draws the listener into the audio environment and without warning, blends seamlessly into the second song, Underachiever, a track that starts as passionately as it ends, with lead singer Amit Sharma piercing the veil of likelihood with a striking display of vocal skill bearing a remarkable likeness to Jeff Buckley. Not another good imitation of the late artist’s talent, but a realised and natural sound that warrants the praise of such an artist. Their sound is humbling, captivating and truly worthy.




In creating Suite(s), they have produced something that blurs the lines between Lamb, Portishead, Jeff Buckley and Radiohead on most tracks. Check out track 3, Phat Knickers, for some grooved out break beats and sample fiddling. The sound, although contained by the spinning CD, is spontaneous and exciting. Track 6, Audio Video Disco, is a nine minute behemoth of a tune. Staggeringly beautiful in its composition, it spawns fantasies of what a piece of music would sound like if all of the aforementioned artists collaborated. A truly epic song, layering rolling broken beats mixed with atmospheric piano (and the distinct vocals of Sharma) which streams unnoticed into a sixty second piano piece. Track 8, 19:04, rounds off the listening experience perfectly, a gradually building atmospheric piece with a climactic explosion of guitars, piano, percussion and sampling.










Rarely will an album get a top marks Subba-Cultcha rating but Ex Libras – Suite(s) is a deserving recipient. Press play and pay full attention to this sound.










Ex Libras – Suite(s) is available from all good record stores (and probably iTunes) from 30th November 2009. Well worth the purchase. - www.subba-cultcha.com/


What are you up to at the moment?
Currently, we’re sorting out our launch party / gig (at Ram Jam, 46 Kingston Road, London on Nov 30th). We had an interesting idea at the very last minute and we trying to get it all to work properly… Which is funnily enough how we started out doing this together in the first place!


What are your main musical influences?
All three of us have diverse tastes in music, but we bonded over a mutual love and respect for the sounds that are made by artists like Battles, Cinematic Orchestra, Mogwai, Godspeed (YBE), Jill Scott, Sigur Ros, Q-Tip, Rage Against The Machine, Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Radiohead, Nina Simone.
We all come from varied musical backgrounds and even though we used to play very different types of music from each other, there is always a musical bridge that at least two of us meet on.


Do you think your music should ‘belong’ or ‘fit in’ to a particular musical family or genre?
I can understand why genres exist and why, sometimes, they are necessary. However, we don’t think about our music in those terms. Sometimes it can become limiting, especially as we’re still discovering our ‘sound’. It’s like someone telling you who you are when you’re only 12. There’s still some growing up to do first. Part of you wishes you should have the freedom to decide what you want to be, but the other part kind of likes that people are trying to define you. In a funny way, it suggests that you are worth talking about and worth trying to categorise. A tag we’ve been throwing around is ‘Post Break-Beat’ – and it’s funny how many people find that an accurate description!

You are releasing records in a difficult time for the music industry: how do you see the future for it?
Music was there long before industry came along, and it’ll be there long after too. The nature of the business is changing for sure. It sometimes feels exciting because people / consumers have so much more accessibility and so much more power, and they’re taking the initiative; Napster was designed by a student in a university dorm room and it changed the face of how we share music. That’s a phenomenal bit of history and I think people forget that
As far as releasing records, we’re looking for new ways, new ideas to get our music out there. The monetary value of music is evolving too. How much is an MP3 really worth? Look at something like ‘creative commons’ to see just how forward thinking some people are trying to be. Even you guys – Fairtilizer.
If anything, with the amount of creativity this issue has created, I’d say it’s a fucking interesting time for the music industry right now. I’m glad we’re slap bang in the middle of it. Sure, everyone seems to have it harder financially at the moment and it is difficult to justify doing this as a career choice, but then, we were never in this for the money.

Could you you tell us what is the most important source of income today ? Records, syncs, tours, merch…?
Anybody would say that most of the money is coming from playing live and selling merch, for sure. There seems to be a growing trend in bigger artists doing ‘special edition’ copies of their albums with a bonus DVD, special artwork, documentaries, live versions, bonus tracks etc., all in an effort to shift physical copies, and it works for them. I’d heard that Radiohead made not an insignificant amount of money from ‘In Rainbows’ – with the pay-what-you-want downloads and the £40 jumbo prize edition. They bypassed the industry completely and because it was a success, it’s a good example of a band’s ability to have control over their output.
But then they’re Radiohead and they can do what they want – they’ve earned it. For a small-scale band like us, we put our faith in good old fashion touring and promoting. Driving around in a rented van, playing for new people, shifting a few copies of the album, getting our name out there… Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

As an artist, how do you use & see the web today? How important is it for you and how do you see it evolving in the coming years?
As a tool for connection or promotion, as a method for sharing music, pictures, videos, the internet is incredibly valuable. Already, though, you can see the control being inflicted upon it. Streaming video’s now have unavoidable adverts – even in progressive music applications like ‘Spotify’, the freedom comes at the cost of adverts interrupting your playlist (unless you pay). The web was (and to a degree it still is) a place where you had access to all information, without limitation. It was brand free and devoid of ownership. It belonged to the community. I sort of miss that.
What’s really crazy is the generation of children being born who will have this high-speed Internet as an expected human right. The rate at which they’re learning the technology is also amazing. All it takes is one good idea (or a bad one) and everything will shift once again.
You have some buzz in an emerging country but no way to monetize it, would you give away your music for free to keep growing it ?
There are trade-offs. By giving away your music for free, does that devalue your work? Will the listener appreciate the amount of effort that went into making it? If you start giving it away for free does that create an expectancy to do the same for the rest of your career? Or do more people hear it because it’s free?
Answers on a postcard please.

What do you expect from a label in 2009???
I think labels should try to find a way to be more pro-active. Bands and indie labels seizing the opportunities this new landscape is offering. The idea of what a label ‘is’ needs to change and it has to be a mutually beneficial relationship between artist and label. There are some really good labels out there that value artistic creativity and others that really know good music. With so many bands now self-releasing under there own labels, it’s hard to see what the value of a label today is. The majors still have the good deals, and they still maintain control over the mainstream music, but they’ve been through a bit of a shake and it’s taken them a while to get their hats back on. This is, however, only the beginning. As long as people champion artists they believe in, then the gap between indies and majors will only get closer.

What’s your favourite: digital and physical format and why?
Our favourite method of information transfer is Bluetooth! On our first ever gig, we gave away a free live recording of one of our songs – ‘Phat Knickers’ – via Bluetooth. It was great. Things of that nature are only possible due to the digital format. But there is something about owning a CD, the artwork, the ritual, the defined length…
I’m a collector and I like to have that sense of ownership. Something as simple as flicking through the spines of the CD’s with my hand, or shifting through vinyl. It’s a funny sort of satisfaction.

Recommended music sites?
I-Tunes radios
Last.fm
The 405
Glasgow Podcart
The Pirate Bay
Mininova
Spotify
And the billion-plus sites and blogs all dedicated to finding new music and writing about them. All highly recommended.

How’s the scene in London? Any good bands around? Do you feel the weight of the musical history of the city?
London is vibrant and has so many different styles of music growing within it, but the sheer volume of these acts makes it impossible to experience this diversity completely. Too much choice limits us. There are a few good bands like Gin Panic, Three Trapped Tigers, but there are probably a countless more. We’ll probably never hear them play because they’ll be playing somewhere in London the same night that we’re playing somewhere else. It’s a real shame.

Places of interest in your neighbourhood?
The wonderful fast food places that are open until 3/4am – Pavillon Rouge, Chicken Spot, Nas Burger, PKC (Pizza Kebab Chicken) – We are pigs!
Actually, in our local area we have Richmond Park, which is HUGE and protected as a natural reserve. There are deer roaming about the ground, big lakes, lots of space… It’s nice

Best thing that happened to you recently?
I (Ross) was best Man twice this year for two of my very good friends. It’s kind of scary being asked, especially with all the preparations and speech writing that goes with the role, but I’m pleased they felt confident in me to do so.

Number one junk food?
Late night hunger attacks, having played a gig and driving back at silly o clock are usually dealt with by stopping off at Chicken Spot.

Best venue?
There’s a little well known place that lives beneath London Bridge Station in London. A Red door within the station itself leads you down to the venue. Thousands walk past every day with not a moments wonder. It’s a huge space with classic beautiful blood red Victorian brickwork arching and swirling around to dizzying heights. There are a few different spaces for performance, and artists to exhibit their work. The space is run by Artists for this exact purpose. Do check it out.

A movie you would like to watch now, right now?
I would love to watch DiG! again. The antics of the The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols are just too cool for school.

Best place to live?
As long as you are happy living with yourself then whatever street you tread will be pretty sweet.

Last book you enjoyed reading?
‘Childhoods End’ by Sir Arthur.C. Clarke. The vision and scope of this book is truly terrifying. I believe all writers in some way are visionaries, whether they claim to be or not. You only have to look at authors such as George Orwell to appreciate that. I encourage all to experience.
‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s a great book that deals with a number of factors of success; one of the more interesting aspects is the influence of cultural heritage. Good read, easy to read, blow-your-mind kinda’ book.

Fave night drink and morning beverage?
I’m into red wine, I think it’s the closest you can get ‘drink wise’ to feeling stoned. It ticks all the right boxes as far as I’m concerned, and the middle classes cover themselves in it. I guess that’s why they’re all so liberal.
Morning wise would be filtered coffee. The trouble is, when you taste the good stuff, I find it very hard to go back to the instant. Life’s too short.

2009 top albums?
Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion
Pure Reason Revolution – Amor Vincit Omnia
Manchester Orchestra – Mean Everything to Nothing
Future of the Left – Travels with myself and Another
The XX – XX
2009 top tracks?
Bat for Lashes – Daniel
Fleet Foxes – Your Protector
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero
Radiohead – These Are My Twisted Words
La Roux – Bulletproof

Last album you enjoyed listening?
M.G.M.T – The album flows from start to finish and reawakens thoughts of romantic bohemianism and escape from my childhood.

Best TV shows (current and ever)?
There’re two BIG ‘Friends’ fans in the band. We quote lines and gags all the time to each other, leaving the other somewhat alone and confused with little solace other then that he has a life and we don’t.
EVER – Twin Peaks, Cities of Gold.

Best gigs?
OK, maybe not strictly one gig, but for me, it would have to be the time I was luckily enough to go to SXSW (South by Southwest). It’s like one gig that lasts 3 days, showcasing hot new acts worldwide in Texas. Those that have been, know, and for those that haven’t, beg, steal, borrow and cry yourself there.


www.myspace.com/exlibmusic
www.exlibras.co.uk - http://blog.fairtilizer.com


Ex Libras
The Lexington Arms - London
Libras light up the Lexington
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Having just heard their debut release, Ex Libras – Suite(s), I was eager to hear the live sound promised on the CD and keen to quantify that the shed dwelling (their album was recorded in a shed) 3-piece possess a blend of honest writing skill and raw talent. Without wishing to prevaricate about the pruned or un-pruned shrubbery, Ex Libras performed with a relaxed confidence and delivered a show that encouraged applause from the crowd.



The album material had been presented to my ears merely a week before this gig and it pointed to a live show verging on experimental, “a blend of Trip-Hop rock and roll with crashing guitars and vocals that spawn images of Radiohead, Jeff Buckley and Portishead” (is what I wrote I think). The trio tore through the set, ripping apart their latest single Radar and showcasing the same energy and creativity from their studio work.



Lead singer Amit Sharma, warped his vocals and stomped into guitar trances during Sum Numbers, a long introduction of classic piano accompanied by a heavy break-beat courtesy of Ross Kennings’ drums. Sharma’s vocal talents haunted the tender keys of Audio Video Disco and breathed life into the tripped out beats and Lo-Fi sonics of Phat Knickers, with Kieran Nagi on keyboards providing a flawless rendition.



Unfortunately there were some sound issues, especially due to a noisy crowd consisting of mainly faux music specialists who congregate at these less than advertised shows to state how brilliant it was that they were there. But the constant chatter emanating from the back of the bar dampened the impact of the Ex Libras sound, a listening experience which is amplified considerably when complete attention is given to it (see Album Suite(s)).








It becomes clear when watching this band that their sound is far bigger than their numbers. The album will leave you deep in thought, addicted and somewhat exhausted. But Ex Libras flair for branching between rhythms and concepts is captivating, especially onstage.



Catch a live show where you can and be sure to choose the venue carefully. Stay clear of trendy bars full of people more concerned with daily chitchat.



The album makes Ex Libras worthy of a bigger audience, a bigger stage and a sound system that doesn’t falter.








Moan complete.








Fucking good band.








www.exlibras.co.uk



By: Ron ONeill - www.subba-cultcha.com


There have been many bands over the course of the last 9 months or so that I have liked, however there are a handful that have really stood out and with hand on heart I can say I love them. Ex-Libras are a band I simply adore.



I will set the scene of my writing by saying that their debut single ‘Radar’ is playing in the background. The song has just reached its climax point and the shivers have travelled from my legs to my shoulders, every time I hear this song I actually find it hard to describe my emotion.


Ex-Libras hail from London and it staggers me that this 3-piece have not been snapped up and showcased to the world. Their time has come now with fluttering of press and word of mouth. We at Glasgow PodcART have to thank A Badge Of Friendship for introducing us to one of the finest bands we have come across this year and another well deserved Artist Of The Week.


Ex-Libras music creates varying stages of emotional undress. Their debut album ‘Suite(s)’ which is due to be released 30th November contains songs of epic proportions. Each track almost illustrates a different life state from the hungover to the euphoric. ‘Radar’ begins with an almost synthetically generated drum beat which in itself shows you how talented drummer Ross Kenning is. This is immersed in a Sunday-like melodic dream coat of earnest vocals and syncopated piano passages. Then you are taken up the rollercoaster brackets, tension is created with an anxious guitar whilst crashing cymbals do their best to fight explosions. All of a sudden you are hit right in your gut; a cannonade of all instruments is fired into your belly, your heart and your ears. This is by far one of the most frenzied and exhilarating crescendos I have heard in a song for a very long time. In music you cherish the way that sounds make you feel, if I could repeat this for hours at a time then I would.


Another album track that illuminates like moon-filled skies is ‘Audio Video Disco’; it is a score of magnificence. That is the striking things about Ex-Libras they know how to create a song that shifts musically and emotionally in a way that dictates your travelling thoughts. ‘Audio Video Disco’ in particular has moments that you feel like you are being vacuumed between mighty piano chords and ghostly vocals. It is like being blasted round space with electronic gales as your vehicle.


Ex-Libras are one of my tips for 2010. They have created an album of songs that not only complement each other but alone could compete against any established and well respected artist. Ex-Libras are a rare breed of talent and as the new year approaches those initial shivers I have felt for them will turn into full body jolts of sheer excitement.

Halina Rifai


For more information on Ex-Libras please visit their Myspace and Website. T


The single ‘Radar’ is available and their debut album ‘Suite(s)’ will be released 30th November. - www.glasgowpodcart.com


23rd NOV '09: EX LIBRAS – Suite(s) (Wirebird) - It isn’t enough to just be different, Ex Libras are a lot more than just different, there’s some genuine challenge here. Some of the moods and textures of classic Radiohead or mid Seventies Pink Floyd, some of the more contemporary post-rock flavours, never that obvious about any of it though... Clever rhythms, a touch of otherness, little hints of hip-hop or orchestral electronica in there somewhere underneath the surface. They’re a new band, a London three piece, this is their rather impressive debut album. Amit Sharma is on guitar and vocals, you may remember him from his previous band Stasi – regulars on our pages, on Organ TV and indeed our Resonance radio show – wondered where Amit had got to. That same adventurous passion and that little extra touch of class that Stasi hinted at can be found in far more abundance here on Suite(s). Ex Libras have more depth, there’s more dimension here, more subtle adventure, this band are pushing themselves far more that Stasi did, they’re a more confident beast. Kieran Nagi (piano, bass) and Ross Kenning (drums) complete the impressive line up, they sound like a band ready to push the boundaries, this sounds like a seriously good statement of intent, and a band who are going to come up with a lot more given the chance. They have a melodic understanding of their craft, a continually evolving sound, a satisfying imagination, they may just be gliding a little closely to the good ship Radiohead right now but these are extremely promising and already impressive early days, this debut album is rather recommended. – www.exlibras.co.uk - Organ Magazine - http://www.organart.com/


Ex Libras – Destroying the Fabric of Space Time
By Andrew Gable • Nov 30th, 2009 • Category: Features


Using organic sounds, sample loops, guitar effects, and well-crafted keys complete with a production fit for electronic music, the Ex-Libras bring a strong, moving piece of work to the ears with their new LP Suite(s). Being the group’s first release (after a marathon 16 shows as of this writing), it has already crashed open the gates of the electronic alternative scene to breath new life into this oft-overplayed genre.


The three piece band from London shows obvious influences from alternative, electronic, and ambient music. The sounds on Suite(s) seem at first familiar, though with more in-depth study they yield a great deal more complexity. Ross Kenning’s organic drums are tight and warm, and present a sound that is at once central but not the only focus. The keyboards, tickled by Keiran Nagi, are bright and strong. Ambient plinking on the more atmospheric tracks nicely accent the drums and provide an excellent, delicate melody. Amit Sharma’s guitars incorporate sound effects and distortion with perfect placement and beautiful intensity. His heart-wrenching vocals are thin, breathy, urgent, and impatient.


The sound of Suite(s), to reference other bands, can be placed vocally with the fervor of Radiohead and the range of (old) U2. Musically, the melodies bring to mind a touch of Idlewild and even Portishead (!). At its most forceful, the album’s overall drive invokes …and You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead.


A perfect example of this description is the 8+ minute “Phat Knickers.” Starting ambient and a bit bouncy, it conjures the sounds of Portishead’s LP Dummy. Twisty guitar noises and trills, ethereal keyboards, and drums with a definite boom – it stirs the senses quickly. The sound gradually grows and speeds up, building in tension and clipping in the production by the close of the track.


The boys in the band took time to answer a few questions.


Link:
Official Site: http://www.exlibras.co.uk/home.html
See their live performance video: http://vimeo.com/6858031
Check the Radar single out: http://www.exlibras.co.uk/player.html
Limited edition album purchase here: http://exlibras.bigcartel.com/ or digitally here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/suite-s/id331425768



Your sound is new, fresh, and urgent. You combine ambient keys and loops with guitar effects, well-placed vocals and solid drumming – where did this come from? What inspired you three musically to get to the point of releasing your new LP Suite(s)?

Hello Zaptown – thanks for the kind words. We started out by converting a disused shed into our own permanent rehearsal and recording space. It’s cramped but we like it. This is where we wrote and recorded ‘Suite(s)’. When we wrote the songs, we didn’t know how things would turn out – would they lead to a couple of EPs or an LP or simply rough demo’s to see if the insane idea that we could do it ourselves would actually work. So everything was an experiment, an opportunity to do things our own way on our own creative terms and whim. The reason for doing the recordings was initially a way for us to see were we were, as a band at that time. It just so happened that we made the right mistakes and came out with something we felt confident (sorta’) about showing to other people.

The Sound on Suite(s) is big while not becoming out of control. How long did it take to record and how did it wind up at the final sound? How was the recording and production process?

The recordings took place in 2 sessions, each lasting a little over a week. As we had to fit it around/into our working schedule, this meant evenings after work. We did it all live, because that meant we could mix it right away. The vocals were done a little after at Ross’ house, along with what little overdubs we felt would help make the recordings sound better. We tried going for big overdubs using lots of different instruments – for shits and giggles – but we rejected that idea fairly early on. For this record, the excitement came from knowing that this was really a record of us trying to capture that ‘energy’ of a live performance and translate that through the recorded medium. Perhaps its ‘sound’ comes from that combination of the raw nature of live recording, and the very systematic, clock in clock out, attitude we were forced to approach it in?

As an artist, you want to be as successful as possible, to create works and never have to go back to a shit job if possible. That said, have you three established any limits to this project? Do you see this as a long-term project? Do any of you have side projects aside from Ex-Libras?

Funnily enough, we set a silent time frame on the band. We would do this for ‘x’ amount of time, and if we felt it wasn’t progressing in the way that we wanted by ‘x’, we would simply call it day then and there. I’d love to tell you what ‘x’ amount of time is, and whether we’re about to reach it or have passed it, but then that would ruin it wouldn’t it?

Side-projects. We all do music in some capacity, individually. Most of it (all band members numerous projects) can be found on myspace. We can’t help but write music, so if we’re not doing Ex Libras, we’re working on other things of a musical nature. But we’re investing emotionally, into Ex Libras now and that’s sort of a scary prospect, I guess. I think that means we do see Ex Libras as a long-term project. There isn’t a shortage of ideas just yet.

What are your musical references? When you come up with music to play and practice and write, where do you draw from? Do you rely on what/who you’ve heard before and play off that, or does it all just come to you?

All of our songs come from jams. There isn’t a piece that has come pre-prepared. We like to go in, loosen up, and have fun with noise. I’m sure we’re influenced by everything: from our favourite records, to the last ‘sound’ we heard before we closed the door to our rehearsal room, plugged in and turned the volume up. We’re in a constant state of reaction, to each other, so what we play starts out as improv.
We try to explore the different grooves in different genres. I don’t think we’ll ever stick to a ‘style’ just yet. There is just so much music out there that we enjoy and feel passionate about. We might suggest a starting point and then create our own interpretation of it. As a rule, we try not to reference things we’ve heard done before. But I’m sure we can be proven guilty for doing just that. But it’s never our intention. We are very much of the school of thought – innovate, don’t imitate. But that’s a hard school to get into.

How much pre-planning is required for your live shows – how much time is taken to record loops or programming effects?

We spend a lot of time changing and rehearsing our sets. What we try to do, when we play live, is no silence, just continuous sounds. We take the time to figure out how to ‘blend’ the songs in our set together so it feels like one continuous piece of music, and that’s aided by the loops we make. All our loops are live and improvised then and there on the night. We don’t pre-program them. They are very much the product of the evening and as a result, the loops are always different each night and we really like that aspect of it.

Depending on distance traveled, stage show, and merchandise, etc., some bands need larger or smaller crews to make everything run smooth- what is the size of the crew you play out with or do you do it all yourselves?

We do it all ourselves. No matter where go.

Many bands that play out, especially when they first start up, play shows as often as possible, and then later are able to afford a more “selective” approach to venues. Where are do the Ex-Libras currently stand in this context? How has having artist representation changed things for the band?

Even before the record was made, we were very selective about where we’d play and how often. We still stick to that model because it’s what makes sense for us. We didn’t want to play and play and play because the only gigs we’d get were in London and you can totally ‘overplay’ London. Since we all came together after being in various other bands, we were familiar with the circuit and decided very early on that we would keep ourselves to ourselves. Thanks to the release, we’ve had a chance to organise a little tour and we had a handful of dates in other cities in the UK. And this is all really a conscious choice to move away from playing in London. I know it sounds bizarre, because we love where we’re from and there’s no place quite like it. If the right gig comes up in London, we’ll play it but we’ve got horizons we want to explore first, new people to meet, other music to experience.
We made the record ourselves, we manage the band ourselves, we did the video ourselves, we’ve (literally) built this band from the ground up, but it was only until A Badge Of Friendship came along and started working our PR that things have stepped-up a notch. They’ve really helped us with the single, the LP, gigs, and even getting us wider radio. They’ve been really supportive of what we’re doing and we can talk through anything with them. Coming from such a private DIY place, it was a little hard to let someone else in, but with ABoF it’s been really easy. They’ve opened-up our world a little bit more and this means that we can play more often in new places – which is what we wanted to do with this band.

How often do you play out, and what venues do you prefer in terms of atmosphere, other bands to play with, and hall size? What would be your individual preferred band to share a stage with at this point and why?

So far we’ve played 16 shows. EVER! That’s not a lot. And most of them have been out of our hometown. We talk about the differences in venues between ourselves a bit too. Small venues give you that sense of intimacy and urgency. There is the sweat, the chaos, that ‘something’ that makes the improvised moments all the more spontaneous and special – like we’ve all stumbled into secret gathering. Then, there are the large venues and they are a whole different beast. There’s space to move around on-stage, and when its silent, its pin-drop silent. In these spaces we can allow ourselves to enjoy the more expansive, cinematic elements of our songs.
We all agree we’d love to do festivals. The space that festivals command is amazing. There are intense moments, but we do have these grand subtle moments that are crying to be played into the open air.
But only 16 gigs… This is something we’ve already started to rectify. In early 2010, we’ve got a short stint in Europe with ‘Gin Panic’ – they make BIG sounds and long devastating grooves. That’s followed by a series of dates back up to the North of the UK. We’re looking forward to possibly lining up some festival dates for 2010. Maybe by the end of next year, we’ll have a better sense of the type of venue we’d fit into, but right now, we’re try them all – big, small, wide, tall, room, hall, square, ball…?

Now that Suite(s) has been released, do you already have plans for the next release? How does the new material sound at this point? Is it a continuation from Suite(s) or is it a departure?

There are new tracks being written that already sound like steps forward from where we are now. Even though they were written off the back of finishing the LP, so they have that lucid connection with ‘Suite(s)’, we’re learning new techniques which are taking the songs into new territories. We want to tackle it differently too. Change how we record it, the method, the engineering, the production. I think it’s important for us to improve on our sound on record, continue to experiment and have even more fun than we did last time. We’re immensely proud of ‘Suite(s)’ and there isn’t any expectation placed on what the new release should be, so it could be anything.

On a lighter note, you are likely aware that an international upheaval has erupted over the title of the last track on your Suite(s) called “19:04.” The title of the track implies a 19-minute song, when in fact it only lasts just over 8 minutes. In order to quiet the unrest, how do you explain the discrepancy? How do you plan on addressing the damage you may have done to the international community? Is there a conspiracy we should know about?

Hands down, best question we’ve been asked about ‘Suite(s)’!
First and foremost, we, Ex Libras, would like to apologize for any discomfort caused. We have decided that the best course of action is to make ourselves available for any counseling. In order to help the more tragically afflicted by this discrepancy we are in the process of launching the ‘19:04 PDCTAC’ (Paranoia Displacement Clinic & Tactical Action Charity) which will provide care for those who are unable to put trust back into bands and artists, and also help lead charges against instances of this kind elsewhere.
I guess an explanation is also in order:


It is something that will make better sense with the physical copies of the CD. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into the tech research for our CD. The materials we sourced for the CD have special properties. These properties are sensitive to certain frequency washes, and will only come into play when the materials are also in motion. These very frequencies have been hidden under the track ‘19:04’. As the track plays, the frequency wash emitted causes the inner structural particles of the CD to rapidly vibrate. These micro-vibrations start to resonate at a very specific interval within the upper register of infra sound. This, when coupled with the frequency wash, start to cause tiny tears into the very fabric of space and time.


Over multiple controlled tests, the most common reaction was a sort of ‘time-stretch’ and this stretch was a decrease in relative time by 128.992%. So the result is that when you listen to that track, even though the track lasts for 8minutes and 14seconds, due to this ‘time-stretch’, 19minutes and 4seconds would have actually passed.



Tagged as: Alternative, Electronic, ex libras, indie, suite(s)

Andrew Gable is a 30-something journalism student in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has played in a few local bands and is an avid collector of music. Outside of sharing his opinion with many people who don’t ask for it, he can be found drawing, skateboarding, and drinking copious amounts of coffee at local coffee establishments.
- www.zaptownmag.com


Ex Libras’ debut album Suite(s) gives you plenty to marvel at; the fact it was mostly written and recorded in a self-made shed, the fact it somehow manages to live up to their shudderingly intense live show, and most importantly how bloody good it is.
This debut offering from the post-post-post-rock trio is conceptual in that all the tracks run together; but it's so far from pretentious that in cyclical fashion it almost re-approaches it. As such it almost befits the album to approach it first from a distance; quite heavily effects driven in parts, Ex Libras' sound is uniformly melodic and often piano led. A feeling of being moments away from a heavy drop is persistent, the pacing and dynamics of the eight tracks consummately well measured. The aforementioned crescendos are actually surprisingly sparse, further highlighting the sense of release and the thrilling atmospherics. The whole package is utterly compelling and cohesive


When indeed that heavy song closure does come (out of nowhere in 'Sum Numbers') everything suddenly fits gloriously together. A little tech, plenty of scuzz and a whole lot of incredible beat-keeping demonstrate quite aptly that Ex Libras know how to rock the fuck out, just that they also have the restraint to make it really count.
This is music that could easily have eschewed vocals of any meaningful sort, but those of Amit Sharma prove their place irrefutably. Whether it's the gentle falsetto opening up 'Audio Video Disco' alongside wistful, subtly overdriven guitars or the distant wailing finishing off the LP, Sharma demonstrates an admirable understanding of when to shore up the instrumentation and when to let it speak for itself. Drummer Ross Kenning and keyboardist Kieran Nagi play with finesse and the utmost subtlety, some passages so understated as to be almost ethereal, yet the tightness of the rhythms and the haunting splashes of synth ensure you're never far from a reference point.


The only possible criticisms to make are extremely tenuous ones,; swathes of instrumental minimalism can feel dangerously close to ambient, and the fluid nature of the tracks means that at times they can even feel a little indistinct. The (consistently) great drumming sounds the tiniest bit over-produced, the penultimate track isn't as brilliant as the preceding six or following one. If anything though the only genuinely bad thing about this offering is no fault of the musicians; the heart of the album's intensity is a definite departure from mainstream post-rock that might alienate those looking for more of a quick fix or without the requisite forty-two minutes to enjoy the thing in its entirety.

Either way, this is most definitely the kind of album that demands you listen to it from start to finish; in fact it makes it very hard for you not to do so. Ex Libras have hit upon a signature sound with staggering alacrity; clean and elegant without being cold or clinical, restrained without withholding closure.

Suite(s) will represent for many an exhilarating accomplishment in exploring post-rock boundaries. For others, it will simply be exhilarating; regardless of which camp you fall into, Suite(s) will feel epic, yet as the last notes fade out, you'll still feel bizarrely like it's finished far too soon.

Rating: 9/10
- http://thefourohfive.com


It's not everyday ethereal poet-rock is created inbetween the lawnmower and the plant pots, but that's exactly where Ex Libras recorded their debut album. That hasn't hindered their abilities to create huge streaches of glorious sound. Having perfected the art of the slow build, Ex Libras use it to good effect here, adding layer upon layer until the results are damn nere euphoric. Lord knows what they'd come up with somewhere more spacious.

Rhian Daly - Kruger Magazine


TV has taught us that there are many uses for a garden shed. Whether it be utilised for marital infidelities with the pool boy, a la Desperate Housewives, growing illegal plants to sell in school, a la Hollyoaks, or just plain old tool storage, a la Ground Force. However, recording a math-rock opus has got to win the top marks for originality, with Hounslow trio Ex Libras having just released their debut album, 'Suite(s)', which was written and recorded in the most unlikely of home studios.

From the instrumental opener, 'Issue', one can hear these boys' prodigious musical talent and gift for balancing innovative structures with engaging melodies; this leads into 'Underachiever', a homage to Radiohead's 'Kid A' stylings, with off-sync drum loops, haunting falsettos and feedback galore. The fact that many of the songs are built around singular riffs and vocal lines is a testament to the album's quality of production, with so many layers of sound enveloping the single-structured beats that it is impossible to get bored by their repetition.

The band are clearly a sum of their influences, with everyone from Mogwai to Prince getting a nod; in fact, on any post-rock fan's iTunes playlist, Ex Libras will segue so neatly into Explosions In The Sky that you will be a few songs into 'All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone' before you notice that the bands have changed. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the artists that they aspire to emulate are of the highest quality and whose music has stood the test of time; it's only when they start aping Foals that we have to worry.

So, if you are in the mood for epic intimacy, creative repetition and innovative referencing then get yourself a copy of 'Suite(s)' as soon as you can, but do them a favour and buy the album instead of illegally downloading it, otherwise they'll be stacking their guitars and microphones next to rakes and pot plants for God knows how long... - www.roomthirteen.com


Last year James May, the fuddy-duddy oddball who cannot comprehend the concept of women, from Top Gear published a book. ‘James May’s Magnificent Machines: How Men in Sheds Changed Our Lives’ has a pretty solid five star rating on Amazon, with praise from four reviewers who also struggle with the idea of breasts.


Now, I haven’t actually read ‘James May’s Magnificent Machines: How Men in Sheds Changed Our Lives’ but I’m fairly sure that the foppish haired oaf has a missing chapter, and it’s called Ex Libras – Suite(s).


“What has James May got to do with this band I’ve never heard of?” I hear you exclaim pedantically. Well, nothing really. But Suite(s) second jaw-dropping moment after hearing the album is finding out that the band recorded it in a normal garden shed. The only way this could be more of a D.I.Y release is if they’d built the shed beforehand. So one thing’s for sure – Ex Libras don’t particularly play by the rules.


It’s the reckless experimentalism that gallops amok throughout the album that makes it so refreshing and unique to listen to. Ivories are tickled to tingle the spine in ‘Audio Video Disco’; the opening segue from ‘Issue’ into ‘Underachiever’ is beautiful; as is Amit Sharma’s disparaging vocal sighs throughout the record.


It’s almost like being back at the beginning with Radiohead again. Now admittedly, that’s a comparison that is thrown about more often than a minor in Haringey, but here I think it stands. The band harness progressive experimentation alongside more traditional, understandable elements. ‘Sum Numbers’ is a perfect example: a lush piano line uncoils into surreal vocals and a solid drum beat before concluding with a crunching riff and all sorts of electrical whizz-bangs shooting out everywhere.


Suite(s) is essentially a recipe that has been mixed to perfection. The brooding guitar melodies have a hint of Oceansize about them, the electronics call on 65daysofstatic, and Sharma’s voice takes a few cues from Thom Yorke and James Walsh throughout. There’s even a pinch of drum ‘n’ bass about Ross Kenning’s drum beats.


Ex Libras’ do it yourself debut is an enrapturing treat. Aurally arresting, it’s certainly one of the best things I’ve heard this year, and with the right kind of nurturing the band could reveal themselves to really stand amongst the likes of British legends such as Radiohead. Not bad for three chaps toiling away in the shed, eh? - www.thelineofbestfit.com


Echos and Dust review debut album Suite(s)

http://www.echoesanddust.com/Reviews/Albums/2010/01_Jan/NovDecRoundup/NovDecRoundup.html

Ex Libras’ ‘Suite(s)’ (Wirebird, Nov 30) album starts out with the off kilter guitar of ‘Issues’ and that sets the tone for this album of beautiful, epic and deep music that loosely falls under the post rock banner. They actually describe themselves as ‘post breakbeat’ owing to their imaginative use of big, warm hiphopesque beats to underpin their largely instrumental sonic explorations. Not many people successfully meld the sounds of Radiohead and DJ Shadow, but that’s pretty much what Ex Libras have managed here, a splendid and intriguing debut. - www.echosanddust.com


Ex Libras - EyeSeeSound Sessions 8/10

EyeSeeSound sessions present Ex Libras live and plugged-in

The EyeSeeSound sessions are the brainchild of producers Julian Bowman and Simon Matthews.
The pair were inspired by their favourite live artists and were encouraged to compile mixtapes of their favourite songs, which eventually led to the specialist sessions and the live recording of artists they truly admired. Enter Ex Libras.

The London based band need no introduction...

Ok then. Subba-Cultcha reviewed their album last year and gave it full marks. One of the best under-rated bands on the planet and we’re quoted on their website as saying that their album, Suite(s) “is humbling, captivating and truly worthy”.

The DVD showcases 8 tracks from the band, split into 2 sections, live and music-video. The live performances, recorded at The Luminaire, London, are free flowing and brilliantly precise. Their skills onstage are just as exciting and impressive as their sound in the studio, except there seems to be no boundaries when caught on camera with live microphones.

Enjoy truly energising versions of Underachiever, Radar, and Phat Knickers, as well as the official music videos that accompany the live tracks.

A must have for music fans. Well worth the purchase!

Ex Libras – The EyeSeeSound Session is available now from eyeseesound.tv/shop


Ruairi Alexander - www.Subba-Cultcha.com


'Sum Numbers' is one of the five live session tracks done by Ex Libras for their EyeSeeSound Live DVD EP. These exclusive live session are available to watch for free or buy from www.eyeseesound.tv.

Ex Libras delivered a storming live performance of their tracks off their brilliant debut album 'Suite(s)', as well as a brand new track which will find its way onto their sophomore album.

'Sum Numbers' is EyeSeeSound's favourite of the live session, so they asked us to let you have it for free. How could we resist?! - Artrocker Magazine


There is a buzz here, and it's not feedback from first act Phantom. It's for this new band Ex Libras, who make crossing over seem as much fun as pressing the button at the traffic lights when we were little.

There are no gimmicks. There are no fancy backdrops, lighting or video screens. They don't need them. From the opening bars of Sum Numbers - which admittedly catches people by surprise on account of the fact that it sounds as if the roadies are turning up, having turned their instruments into whales - the band captivate.
Pop tarts beware: Ex Libras could, at first glance, be chart-friendly fops Keane. The bass player has been replaced by someone hammering the keyboards. The vocals boom. There are melodies. But don't panic....

Amit Sharma's vocals are, admittedly, soaring, but don't hold that against him. He also plays a mean guitar, hammering away when required, as on debut single Radar, yet showing subtlety in quieter moments. And when things go wrong at the end he apologises, fiddles with his keys for a bit and, with consummate professionalism, says against a wall of expectant silence: "Shhh. We're playing here."

Intriguingly, he stands side on to the stage, to the left of the audience. This is not uncommon - R.E.M's Michael Stipe spent at least one entire tour with his back to the audience, while Maynard James Keenan has hidden in the shadows during Tool's recent tours - but it suggests an equality between bandmates. Given their well balanced sound, this is not a surprise.

In the centre is Kieran Nagi, who dominates the stage behind a keyboard that would make Beethoven weep. He adds the texture that stops the noise being....noise. Appropriately, he took the centre-stage on the debut album, Suite(s). He is, in the words of drummer Ross Kennng after the gig, "Classical without being plinky plonky."

Talking of Ross, this is a band driven by rhythm. He has taken influences from far and wide - from the subtlety of jazz to the energy of drum and bass - to create a platform for the rest of the band. He is tucked away in the corner, head down, but perhaps significant that Sharma is facing in his direction. With no bassist in sight, Kenning is the rhythm section, supported by Nagi's hammering on the keyboards.
For a band who are one album into what should be a long career, they are tight and have a good turn of pace.

Overall. the noise Ex Libras make on stage is heavier than on their first album. By including three new songs in a set of seven (Leap of Faith is a particular highlight), they show they are not afraid to progress or take ricks. They could go in any direction they choose, but don't expect platitudes and nods to the music industry. It will be on their own terms, and on tonight's evidence it will be worth listening out for.

Michael Donlevy - Classic Rock Presents Prog Magazine


Ex Libras – ‘Underachiever’
By
Euan Wallace

Release date May 10th 2010

‘Underachiever’, the second single taken from London’s Ex Libras debut album Suite(s), is a thing of delicate beauty. Gently paced and soothing, archetypal long bath music. That’s not an attempt at denigration, there’s no harm in taking it slow, especially when it means that everything here can be taken in and enjoyed, like a panoramic view from atop a mountain.

Guitars hang in the air and ring out. The music builds slowly, very slowly with almost minimalist progression and the production gives the impression of some grand arena, as though the band were performing in a cathedral, it’s a great effect that suits the band’s airy sound. Here, they sound like Radiohead at their most sedate and if that sound appeals to you then so will this single.

The Verdict:4/5 - http://stereokill.net


Single of the Week 1

EX LIBRAS – Underachiever (Wirebird) – Second single from the London band’s impressively bold debut album Suits(s). Take Radiohead as a vague starting point, throw in some refreshingly unclichéd post rock flavours, some deliciously moody colours, melodic sensibilities, intricately delicate piano, warm vocals, a real understanding of musical tension (and an absolutely brilliant b-side) and bask in a band confidently expanding. Ex Libras are a band who really do deserve your time - rich, alive and needing to do something a little more than just sounding like the bands they clearly appreciate, a band with ambition enough to do something as big as any of the band they may sometime get compared with in a complimentary way. Something special evolving here ... www.exlibras.co.uk - Organ Magazine


Sometimes DIY is the best way to go.


We're not talking about Black And Decker though. In these recession hit days labels are strapped for cash, with more and more bands deciding to fund their own music.


Ex Libras decided to do this. Looking around, the band bought up some studio equipment and set up shop in a shed at the bottom of their garden. At home amongst spare gnomes and un-planted bulbs, the band laid down the tracks which became their debut album.
Released to warm acclaim last year, 'Suite(s)' was a bold and ambitious first stab from Ex Libras. Matching acoustic songcraft to processed beats, it's often dark atmosphere was lightened by moments of stunning good humour.


Taken from their debut album, new single 'Underachiever' is a suitably sinaglong introduction to Ex Libras. The group have recorded a new video for the track, with their longest tour to date also at the planning stages.


ClashMusic have grabbed flipside '04:19'. An ode to the wee small hours, it rolls and unfolds into something quite unexpected.


Listen to it now... - www.clashmusic.com


Glasgow’s 13th Note is an amazing little venue, with no windows and a very low ceiling that keeps all the music inside for a fantastically loud live music experience. 13th Note doesn’t have a stage either, more a space with amps, adding to the venue’s charisma. It’s almost as if 13th Note is putting two fingers up to every other venue that has candles, fairy lights or windows, as they push out all niceties to focus purely on the music.

Gracing 13th Note this evening are London-based trio Ex Libras, with support from Must Be Something. Must Be Something start the show with an instrumental, before adding strong and defined vocals to the set up. Watching some support bands can stir a feeling of overwhelming boredom and a lack of patience, but Must Be Something throw this stigma away with a soundtrack to keep you hanging on every complicated guitar riff and air-shattering beat.

Up next are out-of-towners Ex Libras, with another beautiful instrumental opener. For a good four minutes, it is completely uncertain just what direction this instrumental will take, and then BANG, it all clicks into place. Ex Libras create atmosphere through volume, providing a quintessentially brilliant noise-beat set up, and still demanding the sound tech 'turn it up’. Each instrument is played with respect tonight, and the sheer quality in sound is undeniably a massive success for the band.

Ex Libras performance this evening is a whirlwind of genres from start to finish, with pop, rock, experimental and even dance notes all incorporated into the show. The keyboards provide an interesting twist in sounds, and the energy from front man Armit Sharma is an essential cog in the elegant and charming production of music. Ex Libras do nothing less than astound the audience tonight with their atmospheric beats, and utterly fill 13th Note with a volume never to be forgotten.

5/5 - Music-News.com


Sunday May 2nd saw Catapult host a great night of music in Glasgow’s 13th Note. I have been waiting patiently for some time to see London’s Ex Libras in all their glory and they did not disappoint.

I have to salute promoter Craig Johnston (Catapult) as he thought about the night well. It is sometimes very difficult for a band to play a headline slot in a city far from home unless they are well known. Catapult placed Ex Libras on second and it meant that people stayed who may not have necessarily. I was however, genuinely happy to see the amount of people there to see them.

Ex Libras are true musicians. Their set from start to finish was jaw dropping and if I could have repeated it several times throughout the night I would have. Favourites such as ‘Radar’ and ‘Underachiever’ made me feel completely euphoric and you could hear the whispers behind of ‘my God they are good’. Ross Kenning is one of the best drummers I have seen, he is up there with Iain (Bronto Skylift) and Chris (And So I Watch You From Afar). His timing, precision and style are just magnificent. The combination of kit, drum machine and loop pedal far exceed my thinking and it was fascinating not only to watch but to listen to. Amit Sharma has demonic energy on stage. He has a presence that is commanding and he lets go completely when he plays. Keiran Nagi on keyboards and vocals provides the perfect accompaniment to the intricacy of Kenning and the wildness of Sharma.


It is no secret that my PodcART siblings and I are enormous fans of this band, however, after seeing them live then I would quite happily book a ticket to see them in their home town. The crowd reaction in Glasgow was mighty therefore I am desperate to hear a home crowd. I pray they return to our shores soon.


All in all a very successful gig and my hat again is taken off to promoter Catapult for a genuinely great gig.


Halina Rifai - www.glasgowpodcart.com


Don't remember how I got this song but I regret nothing. Starts off slow, real slow, but you quickly get the feeling that it's gonna get epic, and it delivers. I've never traveled without this song in my ears: soothing instruments and eerie vocals make this one an instant classic.

_ Xero & The Boombox Theory - http://theboomboxtheory.blogspot.com/


I LOVE THIS SO MUCH I CREAMED MYSELF (Formerly Single of the Month)


EX-LIBRAS – UNDERACHIEVER - WIREBIRD


With the other worldly beauty of Wild Beasts at their most emotive, fused to the rhythmical dexterity of latter-day Radiohead, all combined over the poise and grace of Jeff Buckley at his most striking – EL Have created a wondrous sound that can fill any cavernous space, and recalls the inventiveness of Post-Rock at its most devastating! - Subba-Cultcha.com


Ex Libras - Underachiever
..
The Ex Libras are probably some of the only people with reason to be happy about the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland over the past week – living as they do on the approach path for Heathrow Airport, it’s given them a nice break from the noise of aeroplanes flying overhead. We had a chat with Ross, the drummer, and managed to touch on topics as diverse as corpses, model railways and Mogwai.


You’ve been getting a lot of comparisons (a fair few from The List, it must be said) initially to artists like Muse, but when people look closer, they see shades of ‘Kid A’-era Radiohead, and Sigur Ros.

Yeah, we get that quite a lot - and Mogwai too. We feel quite encouraged by those comparisons – these are all bands that have done amazingly well, and it also means fans of those artists get to hear about us and maybe give us a listen.


Not bad for three guys who famously practise and record in a garden shed.

Way back – about 40 or 50 years ago – this guy was a model train enthusiast, and he built this shed to keep his train set in. When some new owners took over, that all got cleared out and replaced with the usual shed stuff, like wood, dead bodies, etc. And now we’re in there, it’s all been soundproofed, and it’s perfect for our needs. It can get a bit cosy – it’s only 3m x 4m – so it’s lucky we’re just a three-piece!


What are your feelings on the upcoming tour in The North?

We’ve had a really good response from audiences up there – the 13th Note actually contacted us to see if we could play a gig, because we’ve got quite a good following up that way. We’ve also had great support from Glasgow PodcART, so we’ll be doing a session with them on before the gig on the 2nd. Loads of bands come back from Scotland with great tour stories, so we’re hoping to create some of our own!

Electric Circus, Edinburgh, Wed 28 Apr; 13th Note, Glasgow, Sun 2 May. ‘Underachiever’, the second single from debut album ‘Suite(s)’, is out Mon 10 May. - www.list.co.uk


Anyone who's followed Ex Libras' exploits making "The Shed" on their blog,Guerilla Movements, must have been impressed by their determination. Using their 3 meagre salaries they've assembled a creative space they can use whenever they want at no extra cost. It's there that I had agreed to meet them.


Making the long journey across London, I have another chance to listen to their debut album, "Suite(s)" and it strikes me just how well suited it is to commuting. As I walk through the hectic crowds then sit among the faceless passengers on the tube it reminds me of how lonely life in London can be surrounded by thousands of people. Ex Libras' blend of guitar/synth electronica somehow captures this perfectly. After listening, you're left with a feeling of emptiness, but that's no criticism. It's like looking out over a desert plain as it disappears into the horizon. The album can be hard to dip into, but when taken in one sitting the experience can be quite euphoric, albeit tinged with a heavy dose of melancholy.


Ex Libras are Amit Sharma (guitar and vocals), Kieran Nagi (keyboards) and Ross Kenning (beat maker and bass guitar). Their live performances are something to behold. All 3 push the capabilities of their instruments to the limit of what can be achieved in a live setting, creating vast soundscapes with an array of samplers and drum sequencers. There are no pre-recorded loops: everything is sampled live on stage and then activated by triggers throughout the set. The crowd soon becomes completely submerged by Amit's sweeping angelic vocals, while Ross and Kieran create an intricate backdrop of heavy beats and brooding synthesizer.

When I meet Ross, my guide for the evening, he asks, "You don't have a problem wearing a blindfold on the way to the shed, do you? Only one other person has ever seen our studio".
I laugh, but I'm not entirely sure whether he's kidding or not.


Article By Ed Williams.


So what prompted you to build your own recording space?
Amit: The death of Riot Club. It was a rehearsal studio in Hounslow run by a guy named Lee Farrow. The majority of the area's bands passed through there at one point or another. It had been running for ten years, but we only got together in the last two months before it closed down, leaving us wondering how the hell we were going to rehearse - not in a desperate way, we were just tired of having to pack up our gear and hump it across town, paying £60 to £80 for four hours rehearsal. It was Kieran and Ross who came up with the idea.

Ross: Kieran suggested this shed that he knew about. We'd had a bit to drink and at the time it all seemed a bit improbable - the place was a state.
Kieran: The only other places we tried were a nightmare to get to due to the amount of equipment we used, so we took some time to persuade the owners and in the end the owners were quite happy to have a chance to get rid of all the crap that had built up in there over the years.

It must have been quite a job.

Ross: Initially when we had a look at the place it was almost like . . . when we knew how much had to be done - it took about six months in total, would you say?

Kieran: Six months on and off.

Ross: Yeah, on and off. We did most of the work on Sundays, weekday evenings,
sometimes we were hungover but we just thought "get in there, do it". Once it started it was like a snowball effect. I don't think any of us would have put in that much money and time for something that wasn't going to happen.

Kieran: We just threw ourselves in at the deep end. We didn't know that much about building a studio, so at work all three of us would be looking up soundproofing instructions, tips on how to dissipate sound. Basically, this is a just wooden shed so it reverberates every single part of the wooden structure. We needed to find a way to build something inside, like an internal room.

Ross: Apart from the floor there's a gap in between this room and the external walls, so it's a room within a room. Everything's hanging from these resilient bars, which separate the external from the internal structure. Using that theory we've managed to create some really good quality sound-proofing.

I'm quite impressed - you're right in the flight path, and I could barely hear the plane that just flew over.

Kieran: The actual physical size of the shed is a lot bigger than what you can see now. There's about 5 inches from each wall completely insulated.
Originally it belonged to a railway enthusiast who built the whole shed around his model railways, so there used to be boards and trains all over the place. It's quite nice to carry on the shed's use for something else - he was passionate about railways, we're passionate about this so it's nice to not just be using the place as a storage facility. - www.work-ethic.net


Ex Libras

London-bred experimentalism made from three man, two suites and a garden shed.

"Are we surprised the Prog wanted to talk to us?" queries Ex Libras drummer Ross Kenning. "Quite surprised. But then again, some of the songs on Suite(s) are quite proggy. And definitely in rehearsal they are. But then again, some of the songs are not so proggy, so..."

This is indeed true. But the moment that Suite(s), the young West London trio's debut album, hit the office stereo everyone at Prog was hooked. For in admist the admittedly Raidohead-like post rock, loops, beats and airy trip-hop is an underlying sense of progressive attitude that makes suite(s0) a thought-provoking and compelling listen.
It's progressive. But not in the manner that, say, Yes are...
"Definitely not!" laughs guitarist and vocalist Amit Sharma.
But the reference points are there for all to hear. The sweet but subtle time shifts, the giddy atmospherics - take Sum Numbers for example, which starts gently with fluid piano before building to a torrid crescendo of noise, or perhaps the haunting beauty of Audio Video Disco (surely the album's finest track).

It's quite clear that Ex Libras move within the framework of modern progressive bands, from Muse to Oceansize to The Pineapple Thief and beyond, creating music as they see fit, drawing in all manor of influences. Naming their album after what began as two lengthy pieces of music with four parts to each (now broken down into eight single pieces) - well, how progressive is that?
"The recording process was so erratic," says Kenning, "it turned out that some of the pieces of music worked better with others. We all like classical music and the way it makes music sound like a journey. That's what those two suites were all about. However, when it came to sequencing the album, we did play around with it a little bit."
With backgrounds varying from your typical "first band" attempts to full-blown music college education, Ex Libras is very much a DIY affair. Suite(s) is released on the band's own Wirebird label (with distribution through Genepool/Universal) with the band very much in charge of their own destiny. Amazingly, given the quality of Suite(s), they admit to recording the album in their own garden shed!

"The studio we used to rehearse in closed down." explains bassist-cum-pianist Kieran Nagi, "So we tried to find a place we could rehearse but there was nothing available. In the end we decided to use the shed in my parents back yard. It took about eight months to gut and rebuild - we had to build a building inside a building to sound proof it" (see some great shed building footage at exlibmusic.blogspot.com)

A bold move surely, given they'd have no idea how the recording would come out?

"Well, we didn't realise when we started how it might turn out." he concedes. "It was recorded live. We knew we played well together. It was intriguing to see what we'd end up with."

Result: one quite exhilarating debut album. Still, in a shed? "It's quite a big shed." he smiles.

Jerry Ewing - Editor


- Classic Prog Rock Magazine


If, as they say, it's always the quiet ones you have to watch out for, then what devilry could possibly be afoot in Ex Libras - a London outfit comprised of not one, but three Librarians? Fittingly, debut effort Suite(s) - so named because it was initially conceived as two, four song pieces before being released in a single collection. - Classic Rock Prog Magazine


Discography

Ex Libras: Radar

Artist: Ex Libras
Single Title: Radar

Tracks:
1. Radar
2. Dumb Number

Release Date: 26th October 2009
Label: Wirebird Records
Distribution: Genepool / Universal

Ex Libras: Cut(s)

Artist: Ex Libras
EP Title: Cut(s)
Tracks:

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

For Us, For Me
I Am Home
Recharge
Teenage Eyes
There’s Still Room For Love

Release Date: 6th September 2010
Label: Wirebird Records
Distribution: Genepool / Universal
Format: Download
Format: FREE Download

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