In Austin, the live music capitol of the world, among one of the most musically savvy and eclectic populations in the world, it is ridiculously easy to be almost entirely undiscovered. Although there are plenty of mediocre acts that float to the surface of the Austin music scene, there are even more good ones that have yet to garner the attention of even the musically plugged in. Exit is one of these acts. "The Way Out Is Through" is Exit's latest release that first made itself known floating around a small circle in Austin's electronic / industrial scene. It's easy to tell that the artist and his CD release, which hit the streets April 12th, is someone to pay attention to. Listening to "The Way Out Is Through" brought to my attention the odd feeling of familiarity with the music while at the same time remaining something that was very hard to pigeonhole into one myriad music genres that have sprouted up in the last decade. Exit's sound is one that blends Edward Kaspell / Legendary Pink Dots-esque vocals with almost down-tempoish rhythms and old school new wave guitar work ala The Cure. Or at least that's what it does at times. The sound manages to keep a signature style throughout the CD while shifting through different influences through the tracks. Track one "This Is Your Year" has some very decidedly Reznor devolved sounds and structures to it but that only lasts on the forefront for the roughly minute and a half long it takes for the track to play through to completion. Some of the songs on "The Way Out Is Through" bear a resemblance to old school industrial act Shriekback’s, Oil And Gold album. Others have a more acoustic guitar heavy sound in the way of Massive Attack, Dead Can Dance, or even certain Projekt label acts. If you noticed the wide gamut of music influences that I’m ascribing to Exit, it isn’t a matter of Exit being a sound alike act - rather it’s because Exit defies easy categorizing. -- darkaustin.com
About the Artist
Exit was formed in 1994 by Ben Londa, 28, as a way to escape the confines of rock music he was being suffocated by in his previous band. Having been involved with the Dead Milkmen-esque Houston punk band Dead Yeti for 4 years, Londa began taking an interest in minimalism and the ambient music of early pioneers Brian Eno and Harold Budd. "The focus had always been on the lyrics," he says. "I started out when I was 14 writing songs about octogenarians who enjoyed rolling joints solely for the practice. The music I began making after that band couldn't quite adapt to the lyrical content, and therefore Exit was a harsh departure - the humor turned a bit dour; the songs suddenly became less about the idiotic fallacies of people I'd made up and became a bit more pointed close to home." After experimenting a little with limited equipment and know-how for the genre, Londa formed Exit and self-released his first cassette, "Exit I," in 1995. A pattern was set, and a cassette seemed to come out about every 5 months. In 1997 the first CD release came out (the sixth release overall), immediately to Londa's dissatisfaction. "You write these songs, and sure they mean a lot to you - but come on. You mean them, but you start to get the idea in your head that you're only writing to yourself and then you start to psychoanalyze your every move and word and you start to become a parody of yourself to yourself. Being a parody of yourself is fine if that's what you're looking for, but when you start losing your skull because you're taking yourself too seriously, something has to give." The following couple years showed a focused growth within Londa's songwriting, and not using the word 'experimental' as a fallback. "Abrupt" came out as a self-released CD and attracted the interest of a few local radio stations, but Londa was still unhappy. "It started looking like a chore. Recording an album every six months or so. Summer time, time for an album. Christmas! time, time for an album. The songs themselves started meaning less and less." Londa was also struggling due to the fact that each album had an equal blend of ambient experimentalism and singer-songwriter ethereal folk on the same release, somehow never able to reach an equilibrium of the two. "Go figure," he said. "I've been around music enough to know that , you know what, it really doesn't matter either way. So you sell an album. So you don't sell any. So some hot producer finds you and thinks you are the next big thing, so you wait around crafting your songs for someone else's expectations… and you know what? Who cares. If your songs please you, and you are able to bring some sort of feeling into one single person's life, you've done all you can ever ask for. It's not worth anything else. I'd love to make it; I'd love to be able to live off just playing music, sure. But I'd also love to be able to be near my family and friends and tell them how much I love them, and that! means a great deal more than any success popular music could ever bring anyone." And with that June of 2005 brings Exit's release of "The Way Out is Through" - a perfect blend of desperate, passionate lyrics and supple acoustic guitars, meshed with intricate keyboards and subtle beats.