Working with the shorthand monicker XVSK, cellist Trevor Exter and percussionist John Kimock have a unique chemistry as musicians, wringing the depth of drums and cello. The music skirts the edges of indie rock, Americana, roots rock and improvisation that verges on jazziness. At once modern and tribal, melodic and in the groove, the rhythm section of the drums and bottom of the cello creates a foundation for Exter to weave melody and harmony– created with an occasional loop– from the high end of the cello and then solo with pizzicato and bowed solos. The surprising range of sounds created by these two artists fleshes out the lyrics and reassures the listener that this is a song based duo, not just another experimental combo exploring the depths of left field and spaciness. Thanks to Kimock’s creative, artistic drumming, the songs take on a life of their own, propelling the artists and their audience into the next mood or texture of the piece and giving the listener the impression of a full band. The overall effect is somewhat reminiscent of Morphine or maybe The Black Keys, circa 2007, and it “…makes you feel like you found something you didn’t even know you were missing.” (BreakThruRadio.com)
John and Trevor began working out this strangely post-rock / alt-folk sound when they were touring from 2009-2010 as the rhythm section (with Exter on electric bass) for Steve Kimock’s Crazy Engine. The downtime jamming Exter and Kimock partook in was a big departure from the music they were playing nightly– it was not jam-oriented, and was more of a reflection of their own diverse musical backgrounds. Prior to meeting John Kimock, Exter was already a “go to guy” for rock or unconventional cello work in the New York music scene, playing with musicians as diverse as French neo-soprano Nicole Renaud and Brooklyn afro-punk band Shrine For The Black Madonna. He also spent three years performing in a highly innovative aerial punk-rave spectacle that toured the world under the name “De La Guarda”. He also performed regularly as a solo singer / songwriter / cellist– his voice often compared to a cross between Bill Withers and Sting– and the songs he wrote through these various projects ultimately provided the basis for Exter vs. Kimock’s music. John Kimock’s musical background and influences are at once both complimentary and the perfect counterpoint to Exter’s. Having grown up on the road with his father– reknowned guitar wizard Steve Kimock– John Kimock has been immersed in music and performance since he could crawl. With unique access to nearly 40 years worth of a virtual “who’s who” in American rock and jazz personalities and history, John had– by his mid-teens– already developed his own approach and personality as a drummer and a musician. While he obviously inherited his father’s intense creative spark and unwavering diligence on his instrument, his sensibility belongs to a younger generation. Working with Lehigh Valley bands New Madrid Faults and Post Junction, John explored and ultimately embraced an expanded sonic palette and a decidedly post-rock aesthetic, adding this to his deep arsenal of drumming styles and techniques. The result is a drummer who plays lyrically and melodically, dynamically and with driving force, with equal parts Buddy Rich and Phil Selway. Thus, by the time these two musicians with such eclectic backgrounds crossed paths, there was nothing to limit their expansive imaginations and the unique sound of Exter Vs Kimock was born.