Featuring Japan co-founder Steve Jansen, Thomas Feiner, Ulf Jansson, and Charles Storm trace the edges of darkness and hope across a nuanced, provocative song cycle.
Exit North is truly about generating an aural gravity that pulls the best out of its participants. Over a 4-year collaborative timeline, Steve Jansen, Charles Storm and Thomas Feiner have contributed in multi-instrumentalist capacities and Ulf Jansson has focused on piano and keyboards. All the instruments one associates with the world of rock are involved, but employed within an eclectic mindset.
Those who admire Jansen’s instrumental, experimental solo output, as well as his song-based work with Japan, Rain Tree Crow and Nine Horses will find much to enjoy on Exit North’s debut work: Book of Romance and Dust. Similarly. The audience Feiner has cultivated with his group Anywhen and its acclaimed recording The Opiates, will encounter a related, spacious aesthetic. Jansson and Storm have also worked on countless sessions across myriad genres that have enriched the global mindset they brought to this expansive ensemble.
"The creative process for us is successful because we can communicate progress in composition and structure without being too precious about personal choices,” said Jansen. "It’s truly a collaborative band in that sense. It’s why we credit all the music to the entire group.”
A co-writing partnership first formed when Feiner worked with Jansen on his 2007 solo album Slope. Jansen sensed a kindred spirit and pursued a long-term working relationship. Feiner was already partnering with Jansson on other projects and brought him into the fold. The trio officially planted the seeds for a new group. Feiner then realised the potential of inviting renowned Swedish producer and engineer Charles Storm to join the group. The two met years earlier at a Jansen performance in Stockholm, so Feiner was aware of Storm’s appreciation for Jansen’s previous output. They also had a mutual friend in Jansson. Everyone felt a sense of trust, shared experiences and camaraderie that informed their sessions.
Feiner’s deep, rich voice is vivid and emotional. It pairs perfectly with the recording’s spectral qualities, incorporating the ambient and orchestral, the meditative and kinetic. The album is one that rewards repeated engagement. Full of layers and complex lyrical turns of phrase, the record requires an investment to absorb. It also includes an instrumental in "North” that finds Jansson conveying melodic intrigue in the absence of a voice. "The group has a patience and attention to detail that I find rare to come across these days,” said Jansen. "This type of music is timeless and contemplative. We wanted to dig deep and express our connections with music and make the type of album we felt represented a culmination of our years of experience.”
Exit North performed 4 shows in Japan in September 2019 and were joined by upright bassist Sven Lindvall as well as a Japanese string quartet.