‘‘The new record from Dutch veterans The Ex is quite oddly packaged. It looks like someone has obtained the design by coding a Design-Your-Album-Cover-Automatically programme and then setting the controls to Mid-1980's, Obscure, and Rough Trade. From the very plain typefaces to the choice of images, it manages to look completely outdated, and yet to completely suit their (timeless) music at once. The Ex, you see, are No Ordinary Band. Would anyone else not just continue but actually kick off a whole new period of frantic activity having just lost their lead singer a full thirty years after he co-founded the band? Unlikely. Yet that is exactly what The Ex have done, and "Catch My Shoe" is the triumphant result.
Showcasing their very rhythmic brand of art rock, which references The Fall as much as it does Sonic Youth and Joy Division as much as it does The Slits, "Catch My Shoe" is a relentless, syncopated, driven record, filled with incredible jazz sax and trumpet leads and astonishing lyrical concepts which disturb and emphasise the hypnotic rhythmic sway. Arnold De Boer, the replacement for the departed vocalist G W Sok, is a past collaborator with The Ex, and this familiarity lends the resulting ensemble some significant chemistry. While not quite as outstanding an experience as The Ex live (definitely, absolutely and utterly NOT TO BE MISSED), this is easily one of the best post punk / art rock records which will be released in 2010, and a creative high point even for these old hands.’’
Eddie Thomas - Subbacultcha.
Arnold de Boer (vocals, guitar),
Andy Moor (guitar, baritone guitar),
Terrie Hessels (guitar, baritone guitar),
Katherina Bornefeld (drums, vocals)
Roy Paci (trumpet)
Recorded March 22-24 2010 at Electrical Audio, Chicago, USA by Steve Albini. Mixed in Amsterdam in Andy's room by The Ex. Mastered at Chicago Mastering Service by Bob Weston
• TERRIE HESSELS - guitar
• ARNOLD DE BOER - vocals, guitar
• ANDY MOOR - guitar
• KATHERINA BORNEFELD - drums, vocals
The adventurous, innovative Dutch band The Ex exists 40 years this year and is still going strong. New projects, new songs and new adventures.
The Ex have defied categorisation ever since they started playing in 1979. Born out of the punk explosion, when anything and everything was possible, the band have still managed to retain both curiosity and passion for their music. Using guitars, bass, drums and voice as their starting point, The Ex have continued to musically explore undiscovered areas right up to the present day.
Already the early 1980s saw collaborations with jazz musicians and an Iraqi-Kurdish band. In the 90s the group found a myriad of partners from varied musical and non-musical backgrounds like Kamagurka, Tom Cora, Sonic Youth, Han Bennink, Jan Mulder and Shellac. In 2002 The Ex set up a lively musical exchange with Ethiopia, organised many projects over there and invited several Ethiopian musicians to Europe. Most striking was the collboration with the legendary saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria, which eventually led to two CD recordings and more than a hundred concerts.
The band also started organising the ‘Ex Festivals’, where they invited their favourite musicians. A mix of jazz improvisers, musicians from all over the world and local treasures they came across on tour. The last few years saw collaborations with Brass Unbound (Wolter Wierbos, Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark and Roy Paci), Circus Debre Berhan and Fendika, both from Ethiopia, and many, many more.
After all these years, more than 28 albums and around 2000 concerts the band continues to work as they did in when they began, completely independent of record companies, managers or roadies. Because of this ‘do it yourself’ work ethic The Ex is still a great example for other forward-thinking bands and musicians.
“Staying a bird, staying independent, free if you will, for three decades, that takes skill and something else, something more like heart.” – Music journalist John Corbett on The Ex.