650+ copies CDr
2xLP / CS
It was back in 2006, when Kansas City musician, Justin Wright originally put out the album, Exquisite Lust, while living in Los Angeles. Consisting of 8 tracks constructed from expansive guitar improvisations intertwining and buoyed on top of a thick, hazy, layering of textures, the effort reaches a full 66 1/2 minutes in length, and has been referred to as the “first fully-realized vision” of his incredibly prolific experimental, kosmische musik-esque psychedelic drone project, Expo ’70. Initially, released exclusively on CDr, it is now receiving it’s 10th anniversary treatment on June 7th in the form of both limited edition 180gram vinyl (200 gold / 225 black) and cassette (100 glitter gold). Since its inception in 2003, Wright has pushed out more than 50 albums under the Expo ’70 moniker, 10 singles and EPs, and even popped up on a couple of compilations. Often collaborating with other like-minded musicians, such as Matt Hill (aka Umberto), Expo ’70 has remained a consistent outlet for the exploration of new sonic territory, from beautiful, haunting soundscapes to explosive, hard driving, doomy tsunamis of psychedelia.
Justin Wright, Sonic Meditations honcho and Expo 70 himself, is, more accurately, a neutron star personified. Meaning: his core is somehow so dense that sound emanating from his guitar playing orbits around him as it’s caught in his gravitational field, at once daunting in its physical properties and euphoric in its celestial execution. Like, it’s spacey drone madness, dude, if you want me to get all simplistic on you.
There’s nothing simplistic about the interstellar jams seshes Wright blasts off into at any given moment, whether they’re testing the limits of spacetime as they’re stretched across the event horizons of black holes or zooming through space like radio signals from a pulsating quasar. The slow burn of the delicate fretwork and the experimental odysseys of effects manipulation are particularly otherworldly, transporting you as you listen to the outer reaches of galactic discovery. The gold-glitter-flecked cassette tape sure helps with that too – maybe you’ve just been inhaling the physical by-products of an Expo 70 improv session this whole time … or for a really long time.
The vast unknowable forces manifest themselves as sound within the human body and morph into all kinds of human feelings, sometimes confusingly as lust. Forbidden, exquisite lust. And there you have why there’s two porn actresses adorning the cover of this tape.
But gawdDAMN if I’m not astral projected right out of my sneakers and into the center of a nebula by this Expo 70 tape, nude ladies or no.
Limited edition physical reissues of this 2006 album, now (but presumably not for long) on double vinyl (449 copies) and cassette (100). Expo ’70 is a project of Justin Wright (ex-Living Science Foundation) and, on five of the eight tracks, McKinley Jones (Breathing Flowers). You could call Exquisite ambient shoegaze instrumentals (and some have), but really, made from kaleidoscopic layers of highly processed guitar tracks, a bit of Moog and sitar, and unflinchingly experimental sonic intrusions of more abrasive sound, it’s often more like drone or a combination of Minimalism and Krautrock. The album title and porn artwork are a poor match for music by turns dreamy or nightmarish, but don’t let that stop you.
From List No. 248
EXPO '70 Exquisite Lust (Kill Shaman) cd-r
We were sent a whole batch of cd-r's from this mysterious group Expo '70, and all the various cd-r covers were designed to look like old seventies krautrock or free jazz records. Which definitely grabbed our attention. Plus they're called Expo '70, so while we weren't exactly sure what to expect, we were definitely thinking it was bound to be good. And boy were we right. This is good. Great in fact. But that wasn't all, the faux vintage covers and the band name ended up being seriously indicative of the sounds within. Gorgeous drifting ethereal krautrocky ambience is what Expo '70 is all about, and eyes closed, you'd be hard pressed to not think this was some Ash Ra Tempel disc or some long lost A.R. and The Machines lp. Crafted entirely from guitars, sitar and Moog, each track here is some sort of lengthy, mesmerizingingly blissed out minimal drone jam. Guitar figures are looped into hypnotic cycles, over shimmery whirls of fuzzy sound and distant drones, the looped riffs slowly shifting and gently changing shape. It's almost like some sort of new age space rock Steve Reich. Swirling FX surround warm deep guitar tones floating weightless in a glistening expanse of muted color and twinkling sonic sparkles. So completely blissful and dreamlike and captivating. One of our favorite new discoveries.
Fans of far out krautrock, deep dark drone, and outerspace guitar exploration will be in absolute heaven, or at the very least in some darkened room, in a trance, drifting off to some druggy dreamy other dimension...
THE WIRE Magazine Issue No. 276
"Center of the Earth"
Expo '70 is the prolific side project of Justin Wright when he's not engaged in his day job with the Living Science Foundation (*they wrote Living Science Project, this band is now defunct!). Previous albums involved collaborations with Julian (*they wrote Justin) PK (Live July, 18 2004) and McKinley Jones (Surfaces). Wright considers his two recent albums, Exquisite Lust and Center of the Earth, to be the first mature work of Expo '70. The pieces are all composed from heavily effect-ladden guitar playing. Layers of delay build up into geometrically textured soundscapes while deep, rolling chords, cycle over themselves into low, ceaseless drones. There's a crossword puzzle cleverness to the weave of riffs on Exquisite Lust track "Hitherto" and a cynical buzzing splendour to "Motorik". Center of the Earth has more coherence as a suite of pieces. "Part I" pulses and swells with the elemental logic of lava flows. This builds into "Part II", which rumbles straight from the planet's magma soul before "Part III" and "Part IV" fall into the calm at the eye of the molten storm.
- By Nick Southgate
(*Just fixing two mistakes in this article - Justin/e70)
OFF THE TRACKS
I must have motivation problems or something. I mean, the last time I updated this was October. October! Anyway, why complain about the past when the future is barking to come in. If you can remember anything from before the various Halloween/Thanksgiving parties you may or may not have attended, I was going to try and chronicle the modern long song in all of its glory. As I said, I happen to like them, but I can see that some people do not. . . and they are wrong.
So, without further ado, here is a track from Expo '70, a group I've been listening to a whole hell of a lot lately. "Exquisite Lust" is an instrumental that comes from the CD of the same name and clocks in at a whopping ninteen minutes and thirty seconds. Long song, indeed. Check out the Expo '70 website. You can't listen to this particular track, but there are plenty of other great song samples to check out and you'll get a better idea of what this is all about.
Now, before anything else, a key distinction to be made is the difference between the GOOD long song and the BAD long song. The GOOD will usually carry you through and grab hold of your attention for the full, well, almost twenty minutes in this case and many times, make the time seem shorter. The BAD, on the other hand, will make you feel like you're just waiting for the song to finish. It's an endurance thing where you keep looking at the timer on your CD or MP3 player and wondering if it's broken or if you've somehow entered a black hole and time has been stretched indefinitely. For the record, "Exquisite Lust" is GOOD, very GOOD.
What makes "Exquisite Lust" succeed is that it is both repetitive and unpredictable all at once. The main contributor to the repetition is the soft background organ drone that rises, falls, and distorts behind the guitar up front, which would of course be the unpredictable part. I don't want to throw around too many metaphors here, but it reminds me of hearing a party from another room. You can hear the drone of background chatter punctuated by the occasional voice or laugh that rises over the din. Let me be clear that this is a lot more listenable than the drunk idiots next door. It's way, way better to be sure.
The up front guitar I mentioned before is also worth highlighting as well. It consists of various guitar loops and fragments of picked solos that come in and out of the ether. These guitars come in all by themselves or at times are piled up in layers. Either way, it's an interesting listen. I'm the kind of person that usually tries to isolate each part of music and this song is perfect for that. I especially love listening for the reoccuring themes that pop up in the solos. But it is also extremely rewarding to take this song in as a whole and get a feel for the full sum of each section together.
Anyway, I hope you are all encouraged to check out this example of the GOOD long song. "Exquisite Lust" does not fall into any of the traps that often plague long songs. It is engaging from start to finish and an incredibly interesting listening experience. Hell, I've listened to it about three and a half times while typing this and I could still keep going! So, sit down, plug in your headphones, and take this one in.
MY RECORD COLLECTION.ORG
Don't be fooled by the cover, this is far from being another Hotel Costes lounge/electronica compilation. In fact it's some of the most LSD-tinged music by Expo '70 (it's very close in spirit to his earlier Surfaces album) so far. The opening Hitherto sounds like something Kawabata Makoto might have composed for some of his solo ambient works with it's drifting, delayed guitar notes cascading all around you like rain. The two Astrionics are probably what the unlikely meeting of Loren Connors' "airs" with Fennesz (in a VERY aggressive mode) might sound like! The album eventually takes a sharp turn towards the dark side on my favorite Two Black Hearts. The heavy drone on this piece sometimes becomes ethereal as shimmering background noises slowly surface once in a while. The title track ends the album on a dreamy note. Turn the lights off, sit back and let it all seep in. Exquisite Lust is both available as part of the box or by itself.
Expo 70 is a sensational minimal-neo krautrockin' project of the guitarist Justin Wright. Exquisite Lust figures among the first recordings but directly reveals Wright's unique musical signature. His sound universe is focused on dense-moving dronescapes mainly built on very low frequencies, electro-loops, guitar's echoing patterns and atonal vibes. This is really sonorous stuff with huge, massive spherical electric frequencies and deep resonances. All musical paintings are evocative and luminously cinematic. The moving drone textures play with extended, circular time and subtle micro-changes. These epic compositions are really immersive and hauntingly absorbing. Exquisite Lust is an astonishing cerebral and phenomenological trip which investigate the liminal (marginal) spaces of the sensorial / sensitive experience. it achieves a balance between lubugrious-desolate moods and eternal dreaminess (obtained by dynamic and buzzing guitar leads). The instrumentation expressively capture the essence of mystical-trance (like) communication. Exquisite Lust is an essential and playful adventurous drone rockin album. With albums as Mystical amplification or Animism, Justin Wright will carry on the exploration of singular micro-tonal genealogies. Highly recommended for fans of krautrock nihilism, early US minimalism and dark (industrial) ambient. 4/5 rating.
Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Content Development & Krautrock Team