From Melody Maker:
ExoGeo (Rebecca Kathryn Perez) Releases New Album
May 27, 2022 by Chadwick Easton
Based out of Seattle, Rebecca Kathryn Perez has been making a name for herself as the enigmatic ExoGeo, an art-rock noise artist with an unplaceable sound and an unpredictable future. Her latest offering comes in the form of The Nightmare Lottery, a truly distinct testament to the ever-growing wave of nu-noise rock, and while it might seem impenetrable at first, there’s a lot to sink your teeth into when it comes to ExoGeo’s sound.
Taken from Perez’s website, “ExoGeo tracks consist of Perez performing on guitar and bass, singing, creating weird computer sounds, and employing an occasional sample. All of this gets assembled on her laptop in her living room, a workflow that gives her a level of control unattainable in an outside studio.” This should give listeners a glimpse into what’s to come from The Nightmare Lottery, an album that truly left me without words after the first listen.
The Nightmare Lottery — where to begin? There’s a harsh, electronic undercurrent that persists throughout the entire project, which consists of eleven tracks, but with the harder elements come Perez’s wispy, ethereal vocals that balance the cruder elements into something that ultimately beckons listeners to come around. There’s no openly “easy” track to break the ice for novices to the noise-rock genre, but if you’re willing to take a gamble and dive headfirst into the ice-cold water, you’ll find that leap of faith is more than enough to break the ice for you.
From the moment the first track “Live Forever” starts, there’s a dark cloud brought in and the scene is set. The album works best when seen as a sort of opera, as it uses the vocals almost as a different color of paint amongst others painting a portrait, and not as a usual instrument or technique within a song. The lyrics are there, should you dig deeper, but at first glance, it’s all different shades of different colors put out flat on a canvas. No modern artist feels comparable, at least in the mainstream or even popular indie scene, to what ExoGeo is doing, and every listen since the first has only revealed more questions and layers.
There’s no easy recommendation that feels primed for unsuspecting ears, but the tracks that I feel most properly indicate what ExoGeo is capable of, and what The Nightmare Lottery has up its sleeve, are “Annihilator,” a pretty traditional and groovy track when compared to the others, “Mind’s Eye,” which stretches the album’s production in a lot of ways and showcases Perez’s production skills pretty well, and “100 Mph,” which doubles down on the previous recommendation by really getting into the varied percussion sounds the album has to offer. The Nightmare Lottery feels like a truly left field album in all the best ways, and ExoGeo is an act that rivals the confidence of anyone working in popular music. The certainty behind each of the album’s eleven songs is something most artists strive towards for entire careers, and ExoGeo has it here on their first go.
ExoGeo “The Nightmare Lottery” (LP)
Experimental music and the esteemed city of Seattle are about as intertwined as cities and genres can be, with the genre of grunge exploding out of the Pacific Northwest back in the early ‘90s as a response to mainstream pop and punk, and then the modern indie genre spawning out of the wreckage of that — for extraterrestrial noise rock artist ExoGeo, this is all merely place setting, and their debut album The Nightmare Lottery takes a stab at reinventing the wheel, in a way, declaring Seattle’s new status as the experimental music mecca.
Even on a purely aesthetic level, The Nightmare Lottery has a very particular and well-directed vision; looking at the album cover, it’s a little gauzy and unnerving, but distinctly paints a picture of what lies inside. Opening with “Live Forever,” the aural plane shifts — dark, dismal notes enter the scene and paint a picture that will undoubtedly take up residence in listeners’ heads for some time. It’s eerie but extremely intriguing! “Breathe” picks up the tempo and shifts the sounds towards something a little more industrial, and “Annihilator” continues the same industrial sound pretty well. The echo-y vocals on the latter feel like a sacred chant, and the journey into the dark continues deeper.
“Unholy” explodes onto the scene with some harsh electric feedback before shifting into a more percussion-forward composition, and the aptly-titled “Beatist” continues the same trend. “Interlude” paints a picture using an absence of vocals as the central focus, and some blown-out percussion and sound design help bring this song to life. “Ghost” reignites the album to its earlier standards, but the added layer of what sounds like an explosive bass guitar at choice moments complements lead singer Rebecca Perez’s vocals well. “Mind’s Eye” and “100 Mph” function as two of the more sonically experimental tracks on the album, throwing in some interesting production choices as far as instrument levels go. “Explode” comes in at just over a minute as another sort of interlude, before the album closer “Missed Opportunity” comes in and outright puts all of ExoGeo’s chips on the table.
When all is said and done, The Nightmare Lottery wastes no time getting into the nitty-gritty of what it takes to be ExoGeo. According to the band’s bio, they make music “about things like the afterlife, summoning the Devil, and hearing voices, speaking for people unable to speak for themselves.” The eleven ambient, electro-experimental compositions that follow hold to such a bold descriptor, and the music contained within The Nightmare Lottery acts almost like that of the Necronomicon out of Sam Raimi’s film The Evil Dead — by playing this record, by reading from this “book,” you’re releasing some sort of ancient energy back upon the earth, or at least that’s what it feels like. This mindset gives the album’s title all the more credence, and going in with this sort of headspace will do wonders for what ExoGeo has planned not only with this album but with the future.