Exorcism

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).

For those of you that want to download a ZIP with artwork, here is is – http://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/u64fw7

23 Responses to “Exorcism”

  1. […] some of his work here from time to time, and I know some of you have liked it.  Now, there is a final Xela piece, and a blog entry from John (who began as Xela in Walsall and moved to the US), explaining why. […]

  2. Ah, the bad old times in the motherland. I shall think of Great Bridge Market while listening =]

  3. Nice to get a bit of insight. Will check it out.

  4. […] type Records is releasing music under this name since 2003. So, listen to his new one and read some lines he […]

  5. […] John Twells closes down his Xela musical persona with a final album which you can stream/download for free. […]

  6. Been listening to your stuff for awhile and always find things that grab me. Will take a listen.

    I think we all start out with “shitty” crap to impress the girls haha but it often leads somewhere. We seem to have followed similar paths…sorta…you’re now just up the road from me–I’m in Rhode Island (came from South Africa).

    Never owned a Pro-One but I still use my delicious Juno2. Yum.

  7. […] Xela’s site features a length write-up of the album’s genesis alongside the download link: in short, it was recorded in 2008/2009 to serve as “some sort of therapy” to an illness that Twells was recovering from at his childhood home in the UK’s Black Country, and although chronologically it’s not the last album he recorded, it’s been chosen to end the Xela story. You can read the full story and download Exorcism here. […]

  8. Its shame this is Xela’s last release, his music has always been superb and ‘The Dead Sea’ is a masterpiece.

  9. […] 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. […]

  10. […] (Ambient/experimental; 2011) [Learn with Xela] […]

  11. […] persiguiendo a Twells desde su infancia en Walsall (ahora residente en Massachusetts). Descarga aquí. Escucha plácidamente aquí […]

  12. […] final album as Xela as a nice vinyl edition on his own Type label, John Twells has chosen to go the free download route. This is slightly perplexing as, to these here ears, Exorcism sounds like the best Xela album […]

  13. Joe Synkro Says:

    Much respect John, For Frosty Mornings’ & Tangled Wool both changed the way i perceived electronic music, I can still draw inspiration from these when i loose faith. One of the best producers / musicians i have ever listened to in my opinion, and one of my biggest inspirations x

  14. […] No dia 7 de Dezembro, John Twells comunicou ao mundo, através do seu site, o fim de Xela, um dos mais proeminentes projectos do catálogo de editoras como a Type ou a […]

  15. Wow. I just listened to Recitation and just gave in to the music. This is truly something awesome, so I looked you up :D

    Suffice it to say this has inspired me to start making music again after a slight creative drought. Thanks! x2 for the free download of the album.

  16. your music rules.

  17. […] Illuminated and The Divine, The Sublime in LP form is a fitting companion to the free, digital-only Exorcism as a nail in the coffin of an ever-present, underrated […]

  18. pobierz filmy…

    […]Exorcism « Learnwithxela[…]…

  19. […] 7 | Xela – ExorcismJust four weeks ago, John Twells—the guiding force behind the Type label—released as a free download his latest album, announcing it would be his last; & as valedictions go, Exorcism is exceptional • Lo-fi & darkly psychedelic, laden with bells & gongs, it begins heavily redolent of ritual (one can imagine it accompanying a 1970s Hammer film), made more unnerving by the music’s immovable focus • Exorcism is a triptych, & the middle section yields to warmth, the gongs fading within a rich ambient soundspace; here, things move, & even before it makes an appearance the bass causes ripples on the surface • It eventually overshadows everything, continuing into the final section as a drone onto which layers of melodic detritus are piled high • At the last, they’re all ejected, leaving just the drone & the gongs resounding • Twells certainly knows how to go out in style • [Free download] […]

  20. Late to this. Sounds grand, though.

  21. love potion Says:

    a fine timeline of audio arrangements… i’ve been here since the beginning, got a few souls tuned in as well, i’ve seen what it’s like for artists on your roster to receive boxes of records/cds from you/
    the personal support, i know the abundant care you have put into each release… the added effort, such conviction. alas, would that we could all manifest such from sound; be open enough to share it with the world… for this, i applaud you [sound of one hand clapping] , thank~you.
    i hear you Xela, you’ve been around, this magick conclusion
    is, in it’s exorcism, an unparalleled piece of sonic seance…
    and the ouija board goes “doo do doo do doo do do doo”

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