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Listed: The Ex + Matt Krefting

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Dusted Features

Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Dutch legends The Ex and Ecstatic Peace crooner Matt Krefting.

Listed: The Ex + Matt Krefting

The Ex

In a decade when everyone from the Incredible String Band to the Jesus Lizard has staged a comeback, the Ex top them all; not only are they still together thirty years after they first came together as a punk quartet playing gigs in Amsterdam squats, they’ve never compromised their values, and their music has never sucked. Key to their success is a commitment to constant change and improvisational acumen that enable them to turn circumstances that might break a lesser band into opportunities for growth. The most recent change is the departure of singer and founder G.W. Sok, whose departure has not only opened the door for a new member, Arnold de Boer (samples, beats, guitar, vocals, etc.), but for he and the rest of the Ex — percussionist-vocalist Kat Bornfeld and guitarists Andy Moor and Terrie Hessel — to develop a whole new set of music. While The Ex have already done two European tours, including one backing the great Ethiopian saxophonist Getatchew Mekurya, both a new record and an American tour are a ways off, although Andy Moor will appear with DJ Rupture at the Wire’s Adventures In Modern Music Festival in September.

Five favorite records of Arnold de Boer

1. Lee PerryRevolution Dub (Creole)
I like the songs that Lee Perry writes and recorded, I like the songs that Lee Perry plays and sings on and I like the dub versions he made and makes of many great tracks. And of all that stuff, I like his album Revolution Dub the most. The beautiful singing in "Dub Revolutions," the great, great sounding guitar and vocals of "Woman’s Dub," a version of Jimmy Rileys "Woman’s Gotta Have It," a great pop song. The ‘Ooohs’ and ‘Mooos’ of "Kojak," the bass line of "Doctor On The Go," the beat, the singing and guitar of "Bush Weed," the melodica on "Dreadlock Talking," the shouting in "Dub The Rhythm," the words of "Rain Drops." And then this cross fade mixing, I don’t like it, I love it. A big inspiration.

2. V/A - Tanzania Instruments: Tanganyika 1950 (Sharp Wood)
Andy recommended me this CD a couple of years ago when I was on tour with Zea, supporting The Ex. The Ex sell these series of "Historical Recordings" by Hugh Tracey on tour next to The Ex merchandise. Many of the compilations from different parts of Africa are great, or amazing, but this one is super! In my universe all of these songs from the Tanzania area are mega hits that I sing along to in the car, shower and kitchen. Flutes, drums, string instruments and vocals are tumbling over each other, lamellophone and likembes are swirling around in my speakers, just to fall into a whole new form of a song, catchy as hell and making me believe that this planet we live on is so big that I can’t imagine it fits in the Milky Way.

3. Aphex Twin – "Girl / Boy" EP (Warp)
This EP contains one of my favourite songs. It’s called "Milkman" and I have it in my head quite often. It’s Richard D. James’ idea of a pop song. And that’s what it is, a pop song, only sounding completely different from any other pop song, because it’s built from his own self-invented bricks of rhythm and sound. When I heard it for the first time, I ran five rounds around my student flat, screaming “I just saw a flying pink elephant!” The other tracks are also sweet in a salty way. If I ever can save only one 12” from my collection, running into my apartment that just caught fire, it will be this one; I put it in an easy place.

4. Neutral Milk HotelIn the Aeroplane over the Sea (Merge)
I went to see Sparklehorse in the Melkweg in Amsterdam more then 10 years ago and the support act, which I never heard of, was Neutral Milk Hotel. It is still one of the best concerts I have ever seen, with Jeff Mangum running all over the stage, playing and singing and shouting while the guy who played the singing saw fell on his knees and started playing a Novation bass station with his nose. They showed me every corner of the venue including the roof. Between the bands, my girlfriend and I went to look at the merchandise table. Something pushed against my right knee and it was this CD, handed under the table by Jeremy Barnes who was then the drummer of NMH and is now in A Hawk and a Hacksaw. He gave me a CD that is still one of the best albums I know. I LOVE it. This record is in the middle of my head, somewhere dangling under my mind behind my eyes and just above my nose.

5. DisruptThe bass Has Left The Building
This is my favourite record of the moment, I just bought it.

. . .

Andy Moor’s Top Five (they are all equally unbelievably amazing)

1. V/A - Soweto Compilation (Rough Trade)
This record is unbelieveable. Distorted bass lines. Spoon-on-glass percussion. Sharp, clean twangy guitar lines and bizarre sax parts. No chorus or flanger on the guitars, which became a trademark of later soweto and zimbabwe guitar music and for me softened the sound too much and took away some of the choppy quality of the rhythms that made this record so infectious. Even the bass was strummed like a guitar, which was one of the aspects i liked most about Colin (Dog-faced Hermans) and Luc’s (The Ex) bass playing . One track called "Zulu Boy" by John Motha would have been a worldwide hit had it been released through mainstream channels on the "world music" (excuse my bad language) scene. Great band names like the New Lucky Boys and Kid Bera Bera and Mister King Jerroo. My favorite words are from a song called called "Nobama" by an unknown composer, musician, producer or backing group that says "This girl, what a girl she is, playing with my father’s cow ....what is she doing, playing with my father’s cows?" Recording this music itself was actually against the Sunday Observance law because most of the musicians held day jobs during the week and could only record on Saturday or Sunday...and Sunday in South Africa was a day when all you were allowed to do was religiously lay down and pray for Monday. Music that is forbidden to be played and still played against all odds, like Rebetika and Jazz, often has an amazing edge to it.

2. DJ /rupture - Gold Teeth Thief (Soot)
Wow, this is the only recording from this millenium that is included in my choice. I guess your favorite records have to stand the test of time, so I even feel like I’m pushing it by choosing something that is only eight years old ... but this mix will last forever I’m sure. I listened to this mix over and over again, trying to figure who the hell was on it and how in the world Jace put this together. I didn’t have the track list for the first few weeks... luckily /rupture is very generous with the information he provides for his mixes. There’s no hiding behind white labels. /rupture is one of the world’s great music-sharing people (listen to his show on WFMU) and he is well aware that being stingy with one’s knowledge and being secretive about what new music he has managed to acquire is a waste of time and actually really disrespectful to the musicians whose music he plays. This release covers so much ground, there was nothing like it before and nothing has come close since. Missy Elliot, Paul Simon (yes, we forgive you Jace), Kid 606, Miriam Makeba, John Wall ( whaaaat?), Wu-Tang Clan, Bounty Killer, Venetian Snares and Musilimguaze... There’s enough material on this mix to keep you busy digging for other music by the same artists and related stuff for years. I got deep into dancehall and ragga after hearing this CD and was amazed when i talked to Jace about it and he said at the time "I don’t know much about dancehall." I couldn’t believe it, but i think his choices are really not style based. He’s not looking for the next hip dancehall or dubstep tune. He seems to be searching for a very personal sound that defies genres, but tells a story, especially in relation to the tracks you hear before during and after. It’s a kind of journalistic approach, only spinning records instead of pushing a pen. Whatever Jace plays, you can always hear a bit of himself in there -- and that for me is the best kind of DJing. And it’s a free download on /rupture’s own site. Now that’s sharing.

3. Rembetika Mortika - Rare Vintage Recordings From a Greek Underworld, 1927-1946 (Arko)
Hash-fuelled music from the 1920s and ‘30s that gets deep under my skin. The best selection of rebetika music I’ve found. Given to me very kindly by Ian Nagoski, a fanatic collector of amazing music himself and a contributor to the Dust-to-Digital label. This CD was compiled by Charles Howard, who also compiled the Rembetika Rounder series that until very recently was my favorite rembetika collection. The beauty of this music is that the melodies are mostly melancholy but always with some amazing catchy hook that lifts them out of their own misery. The songs are made by Greek refugees who returned from Turkey to the Athens port of Piraeus, where they set up an underground community and introduced these dark, sad trance-like songs mostly about lost love, prison, drug addiction and tuberculosis. The word "Mortis" is Greek underworld slang for someone who is tough and elegant, the cool bearer of a knife and suit. These songs are about these type of people. The song titles tell everything: the hash smokers, heroin and hashish, hash-smoking chicks, the lifer... oh mother, I can’t stand it. The musicians on this CD really come from the best period of Rembetika -- the mid ‘20s to the mid-’40s, including Markos Vamvakaris, whose rough, growling voice is trademark stuff, and Rita Abatzi, my favorite woman singer of rembetika. It’s great music to play when youre eating, smoking and drinking...

4. Sonic Youth - Evol (SST)
The first time I saw Sonic Youth in Glasgow, they played this set, and it changed the way I played guitar forever. This band changed the direction of electric guitar music forever. Of course, there were records before this that led the way, like Buy by the Contortions, and Sonic Youth’s own Confusion is Sex, but this was for me the perfect balance between experimental noise and amazing songs, something we always try to keep in balance in The Ex with varying degrees of success. It’s a tough call because Bad Moon Rising, their previous release, has two of my favorite SY songs ever on it -- "Death Valley 69," a song they must still feel very attached to themselves as they still play it now, and "I Love Her All the Time," which I first came accross on a cassette that Colin from Dog-Faced Hermans gave me, a live version from the ICA in London recorded for John Peel on BBC Radio. But Evol is consistently amazing and there was big leap in sound quality on this recording. Sonic Youth are probably the band that have influenced me the most and their music still seeps into my playing. I feel like I owe them something for this, but I’m not quite sure how to repay them . Thanks Thurston, Lee, Kim and Steve (and Mike Watt, who plays bass on "In the Kingdom").

5. The Fall - Grotesque (After the Gramme) (Rough Trade)
One of the best examples of great Northern English urban folk music this century. Paul Hanley, the drummer on this record, was only 16. Mark Smith’s lyrics get better every time I listen to them and their meaning changes for me as my own brain changes every year. I still don’t really get what the hell he’s talking about, but like Beefheart’s lyrics, you don’t need to ‘understand’ them, and the ones that I do understand -- "all the English bands act like peasants with free milk on route to the loot" ... "the north will rise again ... not in 10,000 years"-- are bloody brilliant. Add to this an amazing snare sound and very simple catchy guitar riffs and bass lines -- what else do we need to make great songs ? Unsung heroes of Northern England ... probably one of the most influential and yet still relatively unknown bands ever.

Matt Krefting

Northampton musician Matt Krefting has been making noise since 1996. He’s performed in at least 15 groups over the years, but if you know of him, it’s probably because via his duo Son of Earth. For the last year, however, Krefting worked on the successful covers album I Couldn’t Love You More, which was released on Ecstatic Peace in June. John Moloney, Phil Franklin, Ron Schneiderman, Rob Thomas (all of Sunburned Hand of the Man) and John Townsendmade up Krefting’s backing band, along with J Mascis, John Shaw and Lynn Myers. The album features songs from Rick Danko to John Martyn to Bill Fay … even the Band. The tracklisting is a Listed in itself, but Krefting was kind enough to come up with a whole new one for Dusted. Son of Earth just released their new LP, Improvements on Amish Records.

  • John Coltrane

    John Coltrane’s music was the first to really open me up. I never get tired of hearing him. I bought A Love Supreme when I was 14 or 15 and have been listening steadily ever since. The Impulse records are my favorite (Live at the Village Vanguard Again perhaps most of all), but there’s not much I don’t like. It took me a long time to listen to any other jazz because I just kept getting Coltrane stuff - and it was so good. I’ve found other jazz figures I really love (Johnny Dodds, Sun Ra, Fats Waller, and Albert Ayler leap to mind), but I’ll always keep Coltrane at the top of the heap.

  • Lou ReedThe Bells

    “At first, like everyone, I appreciated the effect of mild drunkenness; then very soon I grew to like what lies beyond violent drunkenness, once that stage is past: a terrible and magnificent peace, the true taste of the passage of time.” – Guy Debord, Panegyric.

    I love Lou Reed through and through (Byron Coley once called me an “apologist” right to my face - can you believe it?). I have every record he’s done and scores of bootlegs, and this one has shown itself to be one of the most fascinating of the entire oeuvre. It dwells in the strange nether-region referred to by Debord, functioning as a kind of twisted, depraved theatre. The man narrating this record has long ago lost any control over his emotions - strange ideas and feelings come up out of nowhere, without rhyme or reason, in fits of alcoholic misunderstanding. The title track is a true masterpiece of modern music, and by the time you get there you are drained, used up, useless, hopeless, broken, and open to what the song offers: a wasted and convoluted concept of redemption. There are periods of my life where I have listened, literally to nothing else. If memory serves, the record was 12 hours straight. Over and over.

  • John Martyn

    My discovery of John Martyn knocked me right out. He exists as a musical genre entirely unto himself. I missed the recent New York shows he did, and now he’s gone. He took as many risks as any artist I know, constantly pushing himself into areas that make no sense whatsoever. To “describe” his music in any regular terms would be to cheapen it immensely. More than anyone I’ve ever heard, Martyn trusted himself fully. And I hang on far past the mid-’70s cut-off point to which so many others seem to tightly cling. Abandon all ideas about trying to define what this stuff is, and don’t cringe at the production on the later records, just open yourself up and let it in. I suppose I’d start with Solid Air or Bless the Weather, but I’d get to Grace and Danger in a hurry if I were you. It’s the most pained record he ever made.

  • Van MorrisonVeedon Fleece

    Another record that just seems magical to me. I never gave Morrison a second thought when I was younger, then heard Astral Weeks in high school and was flabbergasted. Gradually, I came to know more and more of his music, and when I first heard this record I was floored. I couldn’t imagine a more melancholy atmosphere. Instantly, I pictured myself in an old hotel somewhere in a tiny hill-town, rain pouring softly outside, sitting at a table next to a fire clutching a glass of scotch, mourning something I’d long forgotten. Like The Bells, I have flipped this LP endlessly for hours, just soaking in it. One of the only records I can think of that I’d hear anytime, anywhere.

  • Nico – “It Was a Pleasure Then” / The Marble Index

    When I first heard “It Was a Pleasure Then,” I was probably 15 years old, and remember thinking that no piece of music had ever summed up so completely what it felt like to be alive. Very beautiful and very terrifying. And for years, Chelsea Girl was the only Nico record I had. I was completely content to play this song again and again. My discovery of The Marble Index was a revelation in that it showed just how much more of this strange emotional territory there was to explore. The mystery quotient is extremely high here, and as such allows you to go back and back and keep finding new discoveries. “Frozen Warnings” is so beautiful it’s hard to believe it exists. And the record does seem like a miracle, or some sort of supernatural gift.

  • Bob Dylan and the BandThe Genuine Basement Tapes vol 1-5

    And speaking of mystery, this set is literally soaking in it. The mystery of the motorcycle accident, the mystery of who really does what on what track, the mystery of what is actually being said during “I’m Not There,” and most of all, the mystery of just where in the god-damned-piss-hell this music comes from. It seems like it’s dripping out of the air. The hazy quality of the tapes themselves only adds to the aura. The genesis of Music from Big Pink and John Wesley Harding is here. When looked at as a body of work from 1967, those two LPs and these tapes form a formidable statement indeed.

  • David BowieLow and “Heroes”

    It’s hard to express how important these two records are to me. I came to them quite late in life (I was probably 20), but they have the distinction of offering me precisely what I was looking for then. The sound of Bowie’s voice has always been comforting to me, and to hear that voice I loved so well contextualized in these incredible sonic environments was just too perfect. For years, if I found myself needing, for whatever reason, to feel comforted, I would listen to one of these records. I love the simple structure of them: one side songs, one side “ambient” music (with “The Secret Life of Arabia” as a nice treat, of course). Despite the often bleak subject matter of the lyrics, you can hear how much fun is being had creating these incredibly fertile creative situations. I had a wonderful time exploring what else Dave & Co. were up to in ‘77 as well: the first two Iggy Pop records, Eno’s Before and After Science, the Eno records with Cluster, and if you spread out a couple years on each side you end up literally wading in a pool of fantastic music from Bowie, Eno, Fripp, et al.

  • Roxy MusicStranded

    I am forever indebted to Bryan Ferry. I know no other musical figure who is simultaneously so moving and so funny. Few have brought me such pure pleasure. He engages the parts of my brain that are usually reserved for one type of music or another, and melts them flawlessly, without any nauseating, post-modern, “combination of styles” garbage. The music, while extremely “arty” (isn’t that an awful word?) is at the same time full of very genuine feeling. For all his smart-ass ways of throwing actual ideas at you (not the practice of most rock front-men), he also elicits very deep and real emotions. The first two records are always batted around as “the ones,” but this LP, just after Eno’s departure, shows the band working to fill the immense experimental hole left by the flamboyant, synth-warbling, feathered fellow. And the record is stronger for it. Bizarre song structures abound, the lyrics are razor-sharp, and Ferry is in absolute top form. The LP versions of all of these songs are vastly superior to their live incarnations (save “Psalm”), which goes to show how well the band held up without Eno’s studio presence. If I had my druthers, I’d live in Amazona, wouldn’t you? And if there’s a better song out there than “Mother of Pearl,” I suppose I just haven’t heard it.

  • Swill Radio

    My friendship with Scott Foust began about eight years ago, and he has been one of the most constantly inspiring presences I know. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be around his impeccable fashion sense, flamboyant personality, and the breath-takingly gorgeous music he and Karla Borecky make together. And he makes a terrific martini. Or Manhattan, if you prefer. For music that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally rich, you’d be hard pressed to find a better label. The Idea Fire Company LPs, the vastly underrated Pickle Factory album, Tart, Scott’s brilliant new solo disc Jungle Fever – they are all worthy of your time and attention. (There’s also the robust and powerful Dead Girl’s Party duo with yours truly – we have an LP currently “in the can” and are looking for interested labels.) By including the entire Swill Radio roster I can mention the huge impact that The Shadow Ring have had on me, especially the three Swill LPs. I could go on and on. Everything Graham Lambkin does is both a surprise and a treat. One of the most fertile minds I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.

  • Gil J WolmanL’Anticoncept

    Wolman was part of the Letterist International, a precursor to the Situationist International. A fascinating and inspiring figure, he is also responsible for my favorite sound poetry LP. A combination of “straight” sound poetry and more tape-based work, this collection sparkles with personality and delight. Wolman gurgles, burps, intones, screeches, and warbles his way through an array of different moods - there’s one for everybody! This would be a children’s birthday party favorite if there was any justice in this sick and inane world.

  • Two DaughtersTwo Daughters cassette

    I was introduced to Two Daughters as a sort of tag team effort of Doctors Foust and Lambkin. First we knew of just the LP on Anthony & Paul Records, distributed by United Dairies (and apparently partly responsible for the Fothergill/Stapleton split?), and then somehow Scott got a hold of this tape, which I believe pre-dates the LP. It’s a much more somber affair, comprised of murky keyboards and vocals, exquisitely multi-tracked. There is a sadness to this music that I can’t put my finger on. “So I” is as powerfully evocative a piece of music as I know.

  • Mirror - Visiting Star

    I know I’m well over my ten by now but I would be remiss in leaving this one out. I’ve often said that if I had a musak-style knob on my wall that could ooze out music, I would want to hear this. The sound of eternity.

    So there you have it. A list. Not a complete list by any stretch, but a list nonetheless. Some classics, some obscurities. Now that I’ve done this, I plan to have a nice little Saturday night some time soon and play all these things together.

    By Dusted Magazine

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