May.28, 2011

Soon on a vinyl close to you… meanhwile, check the clip!!!!


Mar.07, 2011

The EX with Paal Nilssen – Love & Mats Gustafsson together with Getatchew Mekuria, Melaku and other friends……

The Thing on Ukraine TV…

Dec.17, 2010

once again —— THANX to all involved in the tour- audience, producers, press and realated.

The Thing & Otomo Yoshihide 2010

Oct.06, 2010

“image and sounds form an ongoing tour!” – see you out there!

The EX Brass Unbound

Feb.16, 2010

The EX & Brass Unbound— SPECIAL PROJECT!!!!

The Ex 4-piece 2009Formed in 1979, The Ex has developed over the years into a melting-pot of diverse musical styles: noise, rock, jazz, improvisation, and ethnic musics have been interweaved under one unique umbrella: “Ex-music”. Discordant, highly rhythmic guitars, the rolling, almost African drumming style, and the intense delivery of the often ironic lyrics give the music of The Ex its special character.

So far, in almost 30 years, The Ex has played 1371 concerts all over Europe, North America and Africa, and released over 20 albums. Never pigeon-holed into one of pop music’s corny corners, The Ex is continuously in development, and always open for new ideas and collaborations with people of all kinds, people whose spirit inspires and appeals to the group. The main principle remains; to make music with heart and soul, out of reach of commercial trends or expectations. The consequent independent approach of the group and the manner in which they organize their concerts and release and distribute their records themselves, has set a significant example for the alternative music circuit.

It’s 2010 now, and they’re still going strong, and forward, in every possible direction.

Current lineup…


TERRIE HESSELS – guitar, baritone guitar
ARNOLD DE BOER – vocals, guitar, sampler
ANDY MOOR – guitar, baritone guitar



MATS GUSTAFSSON – Baritone and slide sax

KEN VANDERMARK – clarinet, tenor and baritone sax


ROY PACI – trumpet, poetry

review after tour in UK… says it all:

John Robb , February 15th, 2010

30 years since they first formed, John Robb is thrilled to see The Ex keeping the visionary spirit alive

There is only one rule – there are no rules.

Netherlands group The Ex are the last band standing. They arrived three decades ago, a time when standard rock was abolished and new methods of communication were established.

Since then they have been a restless band incorporating a whole gamut of musical styles into an aural adventure that makes most others look lazy and pointless.

Like a clanking, mechanical Dutch rhythm machine they have somehow managed to combine strands of music as diverse as Ethiopiques, Burundi, Gnawa, dubstep, post punk, blues, free jazz and folk into their innovative whole. And that’s the cool thing about The Ex, no matter how far they wander from their base they still manage to make the whole caboodle of sound as direct, focussed and punk rock as when they started.

The band have their roots in the vibrant late 70s anarchist squat culture of Amsterdam. They grew out of the ideas thrown into the air by Crass – that direct political anger fused with inventive avant garde take on punk’s template – and took them in their own idiosyncratic direction.

They shared Crass’ intelligence and collective spirit and the idea that punk rock could be so much more than an excuse to get pissed. The UK Death To Trad Rock bands found a common ground with The Ex when they toured Holland in the early 80s. My band the Membranes bonded with them and the Ex’s squat was the port of call on endless European tours. They were the epicentre of a thriving scene then and their musical adventure was already unfurling in a fascinating direction of unapologetic records and fierce, idealistic politics.

Then and now an Ex show is like no other. There are no stars, no concessions to boorish rock n roll stupidity. This is a joyous affair, a stage crammed with equal partners. There are the twin guitars of Andy (formally of the fantastic Dog Face Hermans) and Terrie – scratching, scraping hypnotic riffing on battered Telecasters and weird half bass/half guitar combinations that build and build into the amazing song climaxes.

There’s the brass section that is culled from some of the world’s finest free jazz musicians- that cut loose with moments that are sheer Sun Ra or Coltrane or even the legendary police brass band that plays on all the Ethiopiques records from the early 70s. New singer Arnold de Boer has nobly filled the gap left by recently departed Jos with the right combination of intensity of modesty that marks the band out.

And perhaps the key part is the delightful Kat on drums – she is the best drummer in the world. Still. I’ve seen The Ex so many times in the last 30 years and she has been unfailingly brilliant. There is no dull 4/4 here, for Kat is a rhythm machine. The combination of cowbells and woodblocks with her rolling, multi rhythmic approach is amazing, no song ever gets bogged down in the obvious but instead is unfailingly danceable; yet another key to The Ex.

The Ex have managed to keep moving through the decades with this spirit. Their restless hunger for music has seen them play all over the world, including several trip to Ethiopia. This outward-looking international approach has fused their approach to making music.

An Ex show is a shared experience, they take the audience on a musical adventure to places no one has been before. They are the most interesting musical unit in the world today- several other long standing post punk bands get endless accolades for their sense of exploration but all of them bar The Ex just repeat the same tricks over and over to the same applause. Go and see the Ex and you will hear rhythms you have never heard before, you will find yourself dancing to some free jazz wildness in 13/8 time; you will find yourself grinning to a piece of white noise, you will shut your eyes and get lost in the brass skronk.

All this should not really be happening – after all that kind of music is normally in the hands of the snobs, but The Ex are playful and make the tough musical choices, the breathtaking frontier music, the direct political anger into a sweaty seething party, an uplifting, joyful celebration.

No-one else can do this.

You know what really makes me feel great this morning? This Ex tour sold out fast. After years of being a best kept cult secret they have suddenly started to become popular. Right out of the blue, after 30 years, after the gradual strangulation of creative culture by the corporations and the cynicism of the music industry they have brilliantly proved that playing music with this sense of wild-eyed fun and radical political edge and this adherence to all that was good and great about the positive politic of the punk and post punk period can actually fucking work.

Today the world is smiling.

The good people are winning.


The Ex
P.O. Box 635
1000 AP Amsterdam

spanish reviews of BAG IT!

Sep.05, 2009

two reviews of The Thing´s BAG IT! in spanish….

we think they are positive…


Jun.01, 2009

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17,49 min
IMPROVISATION incl excerpts from Stephanie McDee´s “Call the Police”

Barry Guy N Orch

Apr.04, 2009


Barry Guy bass, director (GB)
Agusti Fernandez piano
Evan Parker sax (GB)
Mats Gustafsson sax, fluteophone (SE)
Hans Koch sax, clarinets (CH)
Herb Robertson trumpet (USA)
Johannes Bauer trombone (DE)
Per Åke Holmlander tuba (SE)
Paul Lytton percussion (GB)
Raymond Strid percussion (SE)

Barry Guy is one of the world’s leading bass soloists and improvisers, well known as director and founder of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra, also as a composer of new music for chamber ensembles and symphony orchestras has founded a new ensemble called the Barry Guy New Orchestra.

This all-star band brings together the biggest names in the world of contemporary Jazz and Improvisation from America, England, Sweden, Switzerland and Germany.

The world premiere of the new composition Inscape-Tableaux by Barry Guy was staged in Ireland for the “Mostly Modern Festival 2000”. During four days the musicians performed a unique set of trios, duos, solos and finally the new piece.

Open rehearsals and workshops provided an insight into the process of creating a new ensemble and into the intriguing combination of free improvisation and composed structures.

Evan Parker may be the most formidable saxophonist since John Coltrane. He plays Trane’s instruments, tenor and soprano, and lists Coltrane as one of his principal influences. Parker is emphatically not an “entertainer,” but a true artist who has developed an entirely new way to play the saxophone. He has developed the possibilities of unpremeditated music more deeply than almost anyone, creating a personal vocabulary that is simultaneously instantly recognisable and adaptable to the most varied of situations …”

Robert Spencer

His discography is so extensive that it has been published in book form and lists over 150 albums recorded over a period of more than three decades (Publisher Bandecc hi&Vivaldi by Francesco Martinelli) this will soon be updated since he has recorded a vast number of new CDs in the past few years.

Mats Gustafsson was born in Umeå, a town in the north of Sweden with a rich cultural life and an inspiring jazz scene. He is now one of the most significant new faces in improvised music. Combining great sensitivity and attention to detail with boundless energy. He has developed a close collaboration with an increasing number of top rank musicians, including bassist Barry Guy, violinist Philipp Wachsmann, cellist Günter Christmann, percussionist Michael Zerang, and more recently saxophonist Peter Brötzmann.

“Mats is the most modern of players where the genre tags of jazz, noise, experimental, avant-whatever are finally transcended to a new millennium – where compositional concepts are at once in check with open improvisation and a super-postmodernism becomes what we always wanted: rock & roll!”

Thurston Moore

Hans Koch worked first as a solo clarinettist in Winterthur and performed widely as a soloist and chamber musician. In the early Eighties he became involved in Jazz being influenced by musicians like John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Anthony Braxton and Evan Parker. In his first trio with Martin Schütz and Marco Käppeli he began to experiment more and more with a mixture of composition and improvisation.

Since then his career as a free improviser and composer has brought him together with Cecil Taylor with whom he played in the “European Big band”, Shelley Hirsch, Butch Morris, David Moss, Andrew Cyrille and many of the leading European improvisers. With Barry Guy he has played as a Duo partner and his collaboration with the Swiss musicians Werner Lüdi, Stephan Wittwer and Fredi Studer has lead to numerous albums on the Intakt label and others.

“A brilliantly virtuosic, independent saxophonist and bass clarinettist with a beautiful, clear and convincing tone, a first class improviser, differentiated, powerful, rich in ideas and many-facetted”

Christian Rentsch

Herb Robertson is internationally renowned as an innovative instrumentalist, composer, and arranger in traditional and avant-garde jazz and new music. He has performed and recorded with Tim Berne, Mark Helias, John Zorn, George Gruntz, Bobby Previte, London Jazz Composers Orchestra, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, and Bill Frisell. He has also recorded five albums under his leadership for JMT.

“Herb Robertson has a voracious appetite for the jazz past, with an eye toward the future … He forced runs of superhuman length, power and density from his horn, yet his tone was amazingly clear and crisp. He used a range of half-values, split tones and mutes to introduce a breadth of tonal colourations to his performance. ”

NY Times

Johannes Bauer is best known for his work with his brother Connie Bauer and the bands “Doppelmoppel” and “Slawterhaus”, he is one of the most dramatic and articulate trombone players in the German improvising music scene and has made a substantial contribution to free and new music since the Seventies as a soloist, composer for improvising musicians and in various ensembles. He is instantly recognisable by his amazing sound, rhetoric and the seamless blend of highly theatrical and lyrical playing.

Per Åke Holmlander is one of the leading exponents of the new generation of improvisers and new music performers in Sweden. He is known both in the new music and free improvising scene as a virtuoso on the tuba with an amazing range of colours and dynamics.

He is a member of Mats Gustafsson’s NU Ensemble and Barry Guy’s London Jazz Composers Orchestra amongst others, and is also well know for his contribution to music theatre.

Paul Lytton, one of the first members of the experimental British free-improvising avant-garde in London during the Sixties and early 1970s, was a founder member of the London Musicians Coop and the Aachen Musicians Cooperative.

He has been building own instruments since 1969 (Incus 14 features Evan Parker on the lyttonophone), and had an exhibition of the equipment in Wuppertal in 1980. Since 1975 has lived in Belgium. Founded Po Torch Records in 1976 with Paul Lovens, with whom he has recorded three duo albums.

Perhaps most well known in the UK and US as a member of the Parker/Guy/Lytton trio and, prior to that, for working in duo with Evan Parker. However, there are many recorded contributions to other groupings, most notably the London Jazz Composers Orchestra and King Ubu Orchestru, also recently ECM released a duo recording with Paul Lytton and Philipp Wachsmann called Some other Season.

Raymond Strid is one of the leading figures in the Swedish improvising scene. He regularly performs with Mats Gustafsson, Marilyn Crispell, Barry Guy in their respective trio and quartet formations. He is also in demand all over Europe and America to play in various larger ensembles.

“Raymond Strid is an explorer of sounds with an extremely sensitive ear, a percussionist who creates sonic rooms. ”

Jazz Review

gustafsson/nilssen-love duo

Apr.04, 2009


SPLATTER… the duo of Mats Gustafsson and Paal Nilssen-Love

Mats Gustafsson – saxophones

Paal Nilssen-Love  – drums

This duo works in a musical landscape where normal conventions are set aside. The interplay is determined by an extreme focus, where the use of very fast and dry playing, shock effect of sudden loudness or sudden silence, kicks the two into a match where they challenge each other in a most intense manner. Their first CD came out on Smalltown Supersound in 2002. STS 063