If punk’s ongoing legacy is as a set of border-less ideals, I posit that no other band embodies its utopian spirit better than Dutch legends The Ex.
The Ex began in 1979 as an anarcho/peace-punk troupe in the vein of Crass and Chumbawumba but as its members absorbed influences from the Dutch free improv scene (drummer Han Bennink is a regular collaborator) and folk styles from Hungary, Turkey, and East Africa, the band evolved into a more musically adventurous proposition.
Across collaborations with late cellist Tom Cora, Sonic Youth, Tortoise, the Mekons, and Ethiopian saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria, the Ex’s mature sound reinforces the notion of punk as a kind of endangered global folk music tradition that might disintegrate if not relentlessly explored and exploded.
For its first U.S. outing in over 4 years, the Ex link up with MacArthur award-winning saxophonist Ken Vandermark, a ubiquitous presence in improvised music since the 90s whose collaborations span corrosive free jazz (Peter Brötzmann), noise (Kevin Drumm, Ikue Mori), and avant-rock (Zu, Gastr del Sol).
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