There is something inescapable about Excepter’s KA; something that is both hypnotic yet frightening; something that pulls at the deepest recesses of the mind and challenges them into a duel with their own fears. The often trance-inducing music thrives upon steady, manipulative and unconventional percussive elements that pulsate in and out with the music, slowly pounding their way into the mind and overtaking it. The vocals are no less eerie, combining layers of incomprehensible chanting alongside odd noises or female half-singing. They can prod intrusively upon one at first, seeming strange and foreign, but their power and placement is so effective, they eventually become an essential piece of the whole mass, enticing the listener to join in the edge-of-conscious atmosphere which pervades the disc. For all these reasons, KA is the dark side of electronic experimentation while at the same time maintaining an organic feel due to not only the vocals but the false sense of simplicity that reigns at certain moments. The fact that it becomes so appealing makes this all the more impressive.
Describing the movements within this record is nearly impossible, because the music may be the least important part of the entirety; the simple fact is the album succeeds on a far deeper level -- one fraught with the emotional fragility of the listener where the only thing conjured up is the unpleasant thoughts relegated to the unconscious only to appear in drug-induced states of ill-advised pondering. KA unfolds systematically, never rushing through songs or switching elements too quickly. Everything is given time to fully sink in and fade off before something else comes in to slam the door of awareness open. The eight-and-a-half-minute opener “Vacation” begins as usual, with a slow buildup of elements, layering each new piece on top of the other. The steady, low pounding beat remains steady throughout the whole song as elements reverberate over it. The symbol crashes pulsate and fade switching off with a tom that does the same thing. The movement back and forth further create a sense of open space, a sense that is only built upon further as nearly everything is soaked in reverb. The over-thirteen minute follower, “Forget Me,” has an even more hypnotic backbone, with a pulsating effect continuing throughout the song. The moaning vocals fade in and out, at times dominating the moment alongside other weirdo synth effects and/or noises.
The songs are generally composed with live recording (and sequencing) giving them a sort of personality and unexpectedness that perfectly complements the steadiness of the cores each song revolves around. “Shattered Skull” depresses the mood even further, with the mumbled chanting of a man dominating the mood with various other vocalists adding pieces here and there and plenty of samples adding to the reflective sorrow of the song. “Be Beyond Me” is soaked in a distortion that morphs the pounding backing into the perfect playground for the experimentation that follows. “Give Me the Cave” features an abrasive synth effect that continuously appears to dig itself in amongst the heightened cacophony of the noise-ridden song.
Nothing truly describes the essence of this album though; only listening to it can complete the picture. It’s an album that slowly grabs hold of anyone listening and imbeds itself, allowing for its slowly changing and evolving songs to truly bring the listener into its realm of psychedelia. Even with all this weight, however, there is something strangely attractive about the discord and oddness and this allows the quirks of the album to actually further enhance it instead of alienate the listener. It is this element which is most telling about the record: That it can be so appealing even though it simply shouldn’t be. This ability to simultaneously attract and repel is one which only strengthens the album and makes its effects stronger. Either way, it’s an impressive debut, one whose staying power is only limited by the mind.