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King Of Agogik: Exlex Beats

Although they are billed as a band, King Of Agogik is mainly the plaything of multi-instrumentalising drummer Hans Jörg Schmitz - a stick-smith who can clearly paradiddle his way out of a tight spot! Released in 2014 Exlex Beats is the outfit’s fifth album where Schmitz plays not just drums but also guitars, basses, keyboards and probably most other things that were within reach. Thankfully he’s mighty fine at each and every one but with a further ten musicians also credited talent is in no short supply.

Sitting in a broad progressive spectrum where a symphonic base sidles neatly next to a much more aggressive rock outlook the amount of ground covered across what is a lengthy journey is impressive indeed, however it is also achieved safe in the knowledge that bringing the listener along for the ride is the key to success. “11th Sense” gives a strong indication of the fun that can be had as Exlex Beats hammers home its message, although the first hint at a different intention comes at the tail end of the track before. Closing, as it does, with the chiming riff from the Yes hit “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”, “Bronto’s Navel” gives way to a piece where snippets of everything from Van Halen to ELP and Asia to Genesis are used to link passages of what would appear to be original keyboard and guitar motifs. With the whole album being instrumental it’s the keys and guitars that ape their heroes here and, while maybe appearing to be a little throwaway, there’s no doubting it’s all tremendous fun. Where things become a touch more questionable is that it’s a trick replayed a few times across this album, one or two other cuts bulging with riffs from Metallica, Aerosmith, Sabbath, The Knack, The Beatles, or even modern classical/jazz themes.

That said there are a lot more skins to this drummer’s toms, everything from intricate and pastoral guitar sessions to tubular bell chiming atmospherics heard in the likes of “Nomouglea”, whereas “Sheol” reminds of something that early Genesis or solo Anthony Phillips might have coaxed from a beautifully poised acoustic guitar. If that all feels like a wistfully passive experience then it’s worth noting that even within that one song we also get blistering guitars and riffs aplenty. Add in a percussive performance that could be described as busy - maybe too busy for some - and the mix of attacks is wide, varied and on the whole, rather satisfying.

As instrumentally progressive albums go Exlex Beats is an unusual beast - full of fun and surprisingly catchy moments and yet still housing a contradiction of beauty and brutality that catches the ear and seldom lets go. For some the wild veering may be a little too much but if you can park any preconceptions at the door, then the King Of Agogik will prove to be a right royal riot.

Track Listing
1. Bronto's Navel
2. 11th Sense
3. Nomouglea
4. The Chasteness
5. Making Of SWEP
6. Musicogenic Epilepsy
7. Sheol
8. Lick Me
9. The Venturous Dream Of A Schlabbershirt
10. Thin As A Skin
11. Arrived Without Travelling

Added: March 13th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: King Of Agogik online
Hits: 621
Language: english

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