Xela – Exorcism LP
2003 saw his début release with For Frosty Mornings and Summer Nights and from there the project moved forward into darker more drone based sound which is where my interest began (I haven’t actually listened to his début release).
One of my favourite pieces from Xela was the b-side to Tsuki No Seika Volume One on Root Strata (with Liz Harris’s Grouper on the flip) I think it was also the first piece by Xela I properly sat down and listened to. It’s a piece I keep returning to.
Exorcism, his final LP, is available for free.
So here it is, the ‘final’ Xela album, and it’s been a while coming. OK, so it’s not technically the final album chronologically speaking (‘The Sublime’ and ‘My Memories of Gallifrey’ were finished after this one) but since it’s being released now, it may as well be the last album. It seems fitting too – I wrote the record in 08/09 while camped out in my childhood home with my laptop, FX and Pro-One synthesizer squeezed onto a dresser table while I recovered from a bout of illness some years back. The idea was to write a record that would serve as some kind of therapy, something I would enjoy making and enjoy listening to, so to act as an ‘ending’ to the Xela project in general seems perfect to me.
You see I came up with Xela in 1999, when I used to make shonky beat tapes for girls at school and pretend it was all other people’s tunes so they wouldn’t be so dismissive. As soon as the name stuck, it took on a life of its own and the shitty jungle, hip hop and garage tracks became more melodic, escapist sounds. At the time I was working at Halfords on Bescot Stadium (Walsall’s football ground) selling bass boxes and fitting car stereos, and my mates were pushing me to max out on the bass content – voila ‘For Frosty Mornings and Summer Nights’ was born. This was an album where I wanted to capture the dank griminess of the Black Country (the wider area where my hometown resides – hint, it’s NOT Birmingham) but give it hope, because I hoped I’d get the fuck out.
Fast forward twelve years and I did make it out, I do miss it – but it feels disingenuous to still find myself shackled to a moniker that was born mostly out of a specific place and possibly time. The last two years, living in the US and still recording/performing under the Xela name has been weird for me. This was a project that for better or for worse lived and died in the muddy puddles outside the Arboretum, and in the 50p bin on the VHS stall at Bescot Market. It doesn’t have any relevance here in Massachusetts, and that’s why I’m bringing things to a close. I’ll still be making music of course, but it feels good to say ‘this is the end’ of this particular era.
Fittingly, ‘Exorcism’ contains field recordings I recorded in the Park Lime Pits in Walsall, a flooded limestone mine that I spent much of my childhood traipsing around (when I wasn’t in front of a screen, anyway – would hate you all to think I’m an ‘outdoors’ type).
Xela – Exorcism
Xela – Charm
Xela – Recitation
Xela – Potion