Last Ex is a budding project of two Timber Timbre members, Simon Trottier and Olivier Fairfield, which grew out of a soundtrack designated for The Last Exorcism (Part II.) While the material of 2012 was left unused for the horror flick, the duo had come across a simmering bounty. The project culminated in a self titled album in 2014 and the band joined Constellation Records, a label shared with Ought, Godspeed and HRSTA, among others.
On November 3 Last Ex performed at Casa de Popolo, a bar established by Pezzente, who is also co-founder of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. We were cozy (as sardines are) in the small adjoining venue, which emphasized each sound and plunged us (inescapably) into an immersive plot. I say plot because the linearity of their noise chronicles a story: We were haunted by experimental soundscapes, marooned in the pulsing heart extracted from a western-detective extraordinaire. I recalled summits of uncanny delight (think Twin Peaks). Simmering with pent up curiosities, we were thrust into accelerated uncertainty, armed with melodies that pried in dread and near tacky-twang – the scenic reverberations nearly tantamount to the soundtrack of a film we did not know we were in. Surprise surprise, you get to fill in all the blanks, Last Ex provide no lyric to betray your fantasy.
Thus proceeded the slow summons of meandering, through desert and squirrel chattering mystique. Riding the careful parabolas, members of the pent up audience would scream at the summits of our plot. Then with tension executed through eye contact and back bending, all broke loose in sublime crests – a collective epiphany and clear denouement. Stylistically frugal and selective, Last Ex serves the imagination on a racetrack to whatever is profound.
The throng effortlessly parts before her. Could it be Jessica Moses? Preceding Last Ex was the mystic Jessica Moss from Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mount Zion. She introduced her new set, saying “Today I am going to play something I just finished. This story is about the lives of people trying to escape, to get somewhere safe.” This work is harder to peg than that of Last Ex. Whereas they grew out of a very intentional and industrial purpose, she doesn’t seem to adhere to a specified narrative, which may very well be the crux of her performance. Her latest solo violin set is serene with Eastern influence, less morose and faster than what was delivered in the former months at Bar Le Ritz and The Ukrainian Federation. Layered and dimensional with looping violin and urgency, her eerie chant ‘entire populations’ made inquiries on the mass before her, and softly dissolved in its retreat.
The Last Ex and Jessica Moss played Casa del Popolo on November 3.