Album of the Week: Ex:Re – Ex:Re with 12 Ensemble

Ex:Re with 12 Ensemble is a collaboration between Elena Tonra, the lead singer of Daughter, classical composer Josephine Stephenson, and the 12-piece string orchestra, 12 Ensemble, setting Tora’s Ex:Re debut solo album to strings.

I’m a fan of the original record, Ex:re (pronounced “Ex Ray” and meaning “regarding Ex”), for its beats, fragile beauty, and kinda awkward offbeat lyrics.

I’m an ever bigger fan of the pared down (up?) version with 12 Ensemble because it makes those awkward offbeat lyrics sound ever stranger, even more out of place in this setting. And I’ve come to feel that this was the point, the words telling these stories of a heartbreaking breakup are purposefully jarring, purposefully painful.

He pretends that he’s understanding / And you know in the grand scheme of everything / He’s probably called a nice man / Or an ordinary kind of man / Or a stereotype with strong hands.

When set against strings, Ex:Re becomes heart wrenching, twisting that pain in even deeper.

Released on 4AD.