A huge thanks to everyone who’s caught us playing out over the last few months, be it as a three piece or as our Arts Council-funded Large Electric Ensemble; we’ve had an absolute ball. We’ve one more performance of the latter at Supersonic Festival on the 31st May, Birmingham, and some more dates as a trio coming up over the next few months:
Ex-Easter Island Head Large Electric Ensemble:
31st MAY - SUPERSONIC FESTIVAL, BIRMINGHAM
Ex-Easter Island Head (Benjamin D. Duvall. Ben Fair, Jonathan Hering):
23rd MAY - BERMUDA TRIANGLE, BRIGHTON
// With Dog In The Snow + NYX + Crop Circle DJs // 7-10pm //
24th MAY - UNION CHAPEL, ISLINGTON, LONDON
// With Papernut Cambridge + MooK // 12pm-2pm // Donation Entry //
22nd JUNE - SIN EATER FESTIVAL, SHROPSHIRE
// With Richard Dawson, Kogumaza, Alasdair Roberts & more //
// 20th-22nd June // £30 //
24th JULY - MANCHESTER JAZZ FESTIVAL
// St. Ann’s Church // 1300 // FREE //
7th-10th AUGUST - BEACONS FESTIVAL, NORTH YORKSHIRE
// Day, stage and time TBC // £110
Ex-Easter Island Head Microclimate (Installation work)
28th JUNE - Contact Theatre, Manchester
// 1800 - Late // Free entry //
A special installation piece utilising multiple third-bridge guitars, electric fans, paper and light exploring the boundaries between music, sculpture and performance within Manchester’s Contact Theatre. Part of RE:CON’s Fluxus event:
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We are pleased to announce that thanks to a grant from Arts Council England and the generous commitment of a dozen musicians, we will be touring our most recent release Large Electric Ensemble in 2014.
For 12 prepared guitars and drums, the piece is Ex-Easter Island Head’s first for massed electric instruments. Commissioned for the World Event Young Artists festival (WEYA) 2012 and committed to tape over two days in 2013, Large Electric Ensemble has received significant critical acclaim from the likes of The Wire, The New York Times, Fluid Radio and many more.
"A ticking skitter of jangling harmonics funnelled into a spellbinding crescendo…Large Electric Ensemble is another essential release for both group and label" - The Wire
“It’s got clear roots in the churning pulses, alternate tunings and dense harmonic worlds of Glenn Branca’s symphonies, but in other parts, it’s also got some of Slint’s dynamic, splintered riffs, and in the second movement, slow and steady cymbal washes and an immersion in the subtle, chiming, quiet mass: all the strings being heard at once.” - The New York Times
9/10 - Norman Records
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Friday 18th April 2014:
Cafe Oto, London, with support from Alexander Tucker
Show presented by the wonderful people behind The Quietus: www.thequietus.com
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Saturday 19th April 2014:
Nottingham Contemporary Cafe Bar, with support from Henry Blacker and Cagoule
Event is FREE:
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Sunday 20th April 2014:
The Kazimier, Liverpool, with support from the inimitable RICHARD DAWSON, Trouble With Books and Lunar Modular
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Saturday 31st May:
Supersonic Festival Ltd Edition, The Custard Factory, Birmingham.
Lineup includes Swans, Matmos, Jenny Hval, Wolf Eyes and more.
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Released 20th January 2014, LP and Download:
Large Electric Ensemble is Ex-Easter Island Head’s first piece for massed electric instruments and drums.
Following on from Mallet Guitars Three for four guitars and three performers, Large Electric Ensemble sees the group expand to include twelve prepared electric guitars and drums to create a maximalist wash of amplified strings and droning overtones.
Commissioned by the first annual World Event Young Artist festival (WEYA) held in Nottingham, UK September 2012, the piece was developed alongside an ensemble of local musicians from a variety of musical backgrounds. Debuted at the festival and developed over further months, the piece was recorded completely live and with no overdubs across two days in March 2013.
Utilising ‘Third Bridge’ preparations - inserting metal rods beneath the guitar strings - and a range of alternate tunings the ensemble adopt a new vocabulary of playing, from billowing harp-like arpeggios to ‘bowing’ the strings with allen keys to produce glinting upper register drones. Microtonal intervals create shimmering difference tones akin to the struck metallophones of Balinese gamelan, whilst electrified strings creates a dense undertow of singing harmonies. Scored in custom notation and balancing aleatoric passages alongside conductor cues, the players collectively create a distinctive sonic landscape allying languid textural drift with muscular, mechanistic forward motion.
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Ex-Easter Island Head have just completed a four date tour of Japan
We had the privilege to play alongside, collaborate with and befriend some truly unique and innovative artists and are immensely grateful to everyone who helped make the tour a success.
Extra special thanks go to Neil Debnam aka Broken Shoulder, who organised two of our Tokyo shows, played excellent opening sets, provided us with accommodation and acted as a comprehensive guide to Japan throughout our trip. His beautiful ambient landscapes come highly recommended and can be listened to here:
…and to Atsushi Kakumoto for lighting design, technical assistance and invaluable guidance during our time in Tokyo.
Thanks also to Oriyo, Asako and the rest of the staff at Tokyo Wonder Site for inviting us to play Volume 8 of the Tokyo Experimental Festival and for providing unending technical and logistical support - check their website for future Japanese residency and performance opportunities:
Thanks to Oshi Kunii at Plancha (http://artuniongroup.co.jp/plancha/) Nishiyama-san at Soup (http://ochiaisoup.tumblr.com/) and Hayashitani-san at Nanahari (http://www.ftftftf.com/) for providing us with great places to play and technical support.
Lastly, thanks to the inimitable Dustin Wong for giving us a superb live rendition of his new album and to Sajjanu, Hi-Fi and They for giving us an excellent and thoroughly entertaining introduction to underground Japanese music.
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Thanks to a generous grant opportunity from Arts Council England we are pleased to announce two live performances of our piece Large Electric Ensemble for 12 guitarists and drummer.
The first sees us return to Nottingham Contemporary on 1st November where we will headline an evening presented by The Music Exchange, with support from Flesho and Lviv. Tickets are priced at £5 advance / £6 on the door and can be purchased here:
On 2nd November we have been invited to open for two hugely influential composers - Rhys Chatham and Charlemagne Palestine - by the excellent Capsule promotions. The concert takes place in the Studio Theater, Library of Birmingham. Not to be missed! Tickets can be purchased here:
The studio recording of Large Electric Ensemble will be released as a 12” vinyl and download by Low Point records, early 2014.
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Mallet Guitars Three is the eagerly awaited third release by Liverpool-based ensemble Ex-Easter Island Head.
Following on from 2012’s critically acclaimed Mallet Guitars Two / Music for Moai Hava and extensive live performances throughout 2012-13, Mallet Guitars Three is a thirty minute, four movement summation of the groups’ singular approach to creating music for solid bodied electric guitar, percussion and other instruments.
Recorded entirely live in a former nursing home-turned group headquarters, the piece expands the open-tuned, guitar-struck minimalism of previous releases Mallet Guitars One & Two into an ambitious suite of impressionistic, propulsive electric chamber music.
Written over a period of 18 months and performed alongside forward-thinking contemporaries including Barn Owl, James Blackshaw, Oval and Grumbling Fur throughout the UK and in galleries and venues as diverse as the tiny Scottish Isle of Iona and the Union Chapel, London, Mallet Guitars Three is a comprehensive summation of the groups’ unique vision for experimental guitar music.
Released on 12” Vinyl and download by Low Point records, 7th October 2013
Following on from our dates opening for Esben and The Witch, we are venturing south to play two shows performing “Mallet Guitars Three” in March:
March 8th - The Hope, Brighton, 8pm - courtesy of LOVE THY NEIGHBOR
Support comes from LUO, FAUX FLUX and CROP CIRCLES DJs.
Tickets available here - http://www.wegottickets.com/event/195665 - or £5er on the door
March 9th - Union Chapel, London, 1400 - courtesy of DAYLIGHT MUSIC
David O’Dowda & Haiku Salut will also be appearing at what Time Out magazine called “London’s best performance venue” !
Happy New Year!
We are pleased to announce our first live shows of 2013:
February 7th: Birmingham. Hare & Hounds. 8pm. Opening for ESBEN AND THE WITCH
February 9th: Manchester. Bunker. 8pm. Opening for ESBEN AND THE WITCH
http://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Manchester/The-Bunker/Now-Wave-Presents-Esben-and-the-Witch/11764168/ (Thanks to NOW WAVE: http://www.nowwave.co.uk/)
March 8th: Brighton, The Hope. 8pm.
http://www.seetickets.com/Event/EX-EASTER-ISLAND-HEAD/The-Hope/683940 (Thanks to Love Thy Neighbor: http://lovethyneighbr.tumblr.com/)
March 9th: London. Union Chapel. 14:00. Donation entry!
(Thanks to Daylight Music: http://www.unionchapel.org.uk/pages/events-daylight_music-364.html)
(Photo by Chris Summerlin)
A few days late, but here’s a little roundup of some EEIH related links from 2012:
We’d like to thank everyone who came to see us play, bought our records, played our music on the radio and contributed towards 2012 being a very busy and satisfying year - we played on a tiny island (Iona), undertook two richly rewarding residencies (WEYA 2012, The Curfew Tower), were nominated for a ‘scouse mercury prize’ and released our second record to some very positive reviews, as well as lots of other fun stuff like gigs, buying the odd bit of gear and hilariously breaking the odd bit of gear.
If you missed them first time round, here’s a trio of features concerning our second record - Mallet Guitars Two / Music for Moai Hava:
The Quietus: http://thequietus.com/articles/10889-ex-easter-island-head-interview (Thank you Simon Jay Catling http://essjaycats.tumblr.com/)
The Wire: http://www.exacteditions.com/read/the-wire/september-2012-32350/10/3?dps= (Thank you Abi Bliss http://www.abibliss.co.uk/)
The 405: http://thefourohfive.com/news/article/an-interview-with-ex-easter-island-head (Thank you Chris Woolfrey http://thefourohfive.com/news/by/chris-woolfrey)
….and here’s a couple of nice reviews of said record:
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MALLET GUITARS TWO / MUSIC FOR MOAI HAVA - RELEASED 17TH SEPTEMBER 2012
'Mallet Guitars Two' is the second release by Ex-Easter Island Head. Expanding from the duo of theirdebut, 'Mallet Guitars One' to a quartet, the piece is four movements for mallet guitars, percussion and trumpet.
Originally commissioned for Liverpool Light Night (2010) and honed over a ten-month period of notable live performances alongside Rhys Chatham and Philip Jeck, ‘Mallet Guitars Two’ broadens the groups’ pulsing percussive minimalism into a full spectrum shimmer of electrified strings, chattering percussion and meditative brass.
Incorporating prepared third-bridge guitars to create a chorusing attack of alternating chords and a bamboo-struck field of flaring harmonics, ‘Mallet Guitars Two’ explores the melodic potential of overtones and drones generated through multiple electric guitars. Anchored by the mesmericrepetition of three fixed chords and incorporating tuned singing bowls alongside gong-like washes of cymbal, this composition exhibits a further refinement of Ex-Easter Island Head’s unique guitar minimalism.
Translated as “One who is lost”, Moai Hava is a ritually significant relic of the now lost Tangata Manu (Bird-Man) religion of Easter Island. Taken from a burial ground on the island in 1868 by the crew of the British ship HMS Topaze, it is unknown whether this name refers to a deceased ancestor or the act of removal from the island, but his relocation coincides with the cataclysmic end of a culture which had existed on the island for around one-thousand years.
Recorded live before an audience of several hundred people, ‘Music for Moai Hava’ was commissioned for performance around the statue itself in the cavernous atrium of the World Museum,Liverpool.
The piece sees Ex-Easter Island Head collaborating with members of the a.P.A.t.T Orchestra, an inclusive ensemble of no fixed size or instrumentation, bringing together players of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
Performed with a twenty-seven piece ensemble, scored for mallet and third-bridge guitars, drums, hand percussion and voices, ‘Music For Moai Hava’ sees Ex-Easter Island Head’s guitar-struck minimalism at the centre of a ritualistic rattle of bamboo, handclaps, cymbals, bells, gongs and shakers before a horizon-line drone of prepared guitars ushers in a swelling chorus of wordless vocals, amplified by the five-storey space of the museum’s vast atrium.
Side A: Mallet Guitars Two, Movements 1 to 4
Side B: Music For Moai Hava
Available to purchase and download from Low Point records:
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