Joggers and Smoggers is an extraordinary album, both adventurous and unparalleled. It’s so full of ideas you are simply blown away during your first listen, and at the same time so intriguing through all it has to offer, you can’t wait to press play again when it ends. The incredibly free and unrestricted compositions resulted in a sheer masterpiece. And masterpieces are created best either when the artist knows exactly where they’re going or if their genius musical mind can roam free; placing Joggers and Smoggers in the latter category.
The songs and compositions on the record’s four sides bounce from furiously intense, stormy punk (the ‘style’ the band is known for) via avant-garde jazz and (European) folk, to noise and dominating brass chaos. Drenched in experimentation, riddled with improvisation, the songs and compositions contain their first lush translations of the band’s World influences they would later go on to impress with on a much larger scale. Joggers and Smoggers maximizes the use of soundscapes, controlled by producers Jeroen and Dolf who gave the album just that bit of oomph.
Terrie (guitar), G.W. Sok (vocals), Luc (bass), Katrin (drums, vocals), plus grill, birdcage, double-bass, fire-extinguisher + hammer, bamboos, piano, electric razor, dobro, spoons, human batbox, wire, glass, castanets, bow, crackle-box, cowbells, kabassa.
Guest musicians - Wilf Plum (organ 02, drums 03,21,24, birdcage 03, voice 12, bodhran 23, kabassa 26, bamboos 27, spoons 32, backing-vocals 31), Jeroen (birdcage 03, voice 12,23, backing-vocals 31, piano-sequenzer 12, various soundscapes), Dolf (guitar 02, acoustic guitar 05, voice 24, space-stations 26), Ab Baars (saxophones 14,15,18,32,34), Bram (guitar 10,34), Doan Gurkensalat (saz 09), Dorpsoudste de Jong (voice 01,19), Ferrie Meurkerrie (trumpets, trombones 22), Floris van Manen (control-programma orkaterdrum 20), Gabi Kenderesi (voice, violin 16), Gerhard Bornefeld (piano 33), Harry Roberts (bamboos 27, backing-vocals 31), Jeroen de Groot (bagpipes 02,07), Lee Ranaldo (guitar 08), Lena (accordion, voice 20), Nick Hobbs (voice 27, announcement 25), Thurston Moore (guitar 11), Thijs Vermeulen (bass 06,17,21), Wolter Wierbos (trombone
Released 1989, Ex Records
• TERRIE HESSELS - guitar
• ARNOLD DE BOER - vocals, guitar
• ANDY MOOR - guitar
• KATHERINA BORNEFELD - drums, vocals
The adventurous, innovative Dutch band The Ex exists 40 years this year and is still going strong. New projects, new songs and new adventures.
The Ex have defied categorisation ever since they started playing in 1979. Born out of the punk explosion, when anything and everything was possible, the band have still managed to retain both curiosity and passion for their music. Using guitars, bass, drums and voice as their starting point, The Ex have continued to musically explore undiscovered areas right up to the present day.
Already the early 1980s saw collaborations with jazz musicians and an Iraqi-Kurdish band. In the 90s the group found a myriad of partners from varied musical and non-musical backgrounds like Kamagurka, Tom Cora, Sonic Youth, Han Bennink, Jan Mulder and Shellac. In 2002 The Ex set up a lively musical exchange with Ethiopia, organised many projects over there and invited several Ethiopian musicians to Europe. Most striking was the collboration with the legendary saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria, which eventually led to two CD recordings and more than a hundred concerts.
The band also started organising the ‘Ex Festivals’, where they invited their favourite musicians. A mix of jazz improvisers, musicians from all over the world and local treasures they came across on tour. The last few years saw collaborations with Brass Unbound (Wolter Wierbos, Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark and Roy Paci), Circus Debre Berhan and Fendika, both from Ethiopia, and many, many more.
After all these years, more than 28 albums and around 2000 concerts the band continues to work as they did in when they began, completely independent of record companies, managers or roadies. Because of this ‘do it yourself’ work ethic The Ex is still a great example for other forward-thinking bands and musicians.
“Staying a bird, staying independent, free if you will, for three decades, that takes skill and something else, something more like heart.” – Music journalist John Corbett on The Ex.