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Ex Models: Art of Noise

story by tim mcmahan



Lazy-i: Oct. 26, 2005

Ex Models
w/ Brilliant Red Lights, The Lepers
Nov. 2, 9:30 p.m.
1322 So. Saddle Creek Rd.

Brace yourself for what comes at the 22-second mark of the title track of the new Ex Models CD, Chrome Panthers. The "song" explodes into shards of high-pitched guitar feedback/static/squeals. Pure, painful, teeth-grinding distortion. You will stop in your tracks. You will reach to turn it down. You quite possibly will stumble for the "pause" button. Upon further inspection, you'll realize that there's nothing wrong with your stereo/iPod/listening device, and then wonder if there's something wrong with the guys in Ex Models.




Like deconstructionist abstract artists who first learn their craft before disassembling it, Ex Models have followed a career arch that began with the danceable no waver Other Mathematics in 2001, slightly devolved to the more dissonant but still rhythm-accessible Zoo Psychology in 2003, before arriving at the almost complete disregard for traditional song structure heard on Chrome Panthers, released in September on Troubleman Unlimited.

Ex Models frontman Shahin Motia agrees with the artist analogy. He knows that fans of the first record might blanch at the new one. "I can remember being a fan of a band and having to put up with that kind of shit," he said. "It's fine to like our first record and not be a fan of this one."

Motia also knows that songs like the assaulting, jittery "That's Funny, I Don't Feel Like a Shithead," with its jack-hammer rhythms and tension-headache guitar attack, take a special kind of listener to appreciate. "It's an exercise in repetition of a riff which turns into a mantra," he said. "It changes subtly over five minutes until you suddenly realize that the ground is falling out beneath your feet."

The deconstruction also applies to the band itself. Originally a four-piece, Ex Models has paired down to just Shahin and fellow guitarist Zaxh, with Oneida's Kid Millions adding drums and loops to the new record. The band has been touring as a two-piece since last year.

"Our live show isn't as chaotic as the record. It's much more about volume and sound, and brings out the industrial side of the songs, whereas the record brings out the psychedelic side," Motia said. "There's a certain kind of animal that gets into noise. Our live show really brings out the noise of our music."

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Published in The Omaha Reader Oct. 26, 2005. Copyright 2005 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.






"I can remember being a fan of a band and having to put up with that kind of shit."