Exhibition – ‘Pt.1’ | EP Review

Emanating with the Sounds of Summer: Exhibition Release ‘Pt. 1’

Hailing from Humberside, the beatmakers Exhibition release their debut EP ‘Pt. 1’. An eclectic collection of songs, their sound breaks through the barriers of indie rock that dominates the Northern scene and promises an escape from the monotony of lockdown. 

What is something you are proud to have achieved throughout lockdown? For the Smith brothers, their debut EP under the artist name of Exhibition, is a stunning example of productivity and success during a distressing time. What began as a project to cure their quarantine blues during the first lockdown, became a mix of dreamy beat tapes crafted from their bedroom studio in Hull and later Manchester. With the likes of Tom Misch, Laura Misch and FKJ defying the prejudices against bedroom mixes, there is no doubt that Exhibition’s listeners will continue to grow as they delight us with new releases. 

Pt. 1 begins with the track ‘Modest’, a short and sweet introduction into the world of the beat making duo. Though Exhibition has kept their sound instrumental, this song offers catchy synth decorations and a lazy hip-hop inspired drum loop in accompaniment. For fans of the lo-fi master Tomppabeats, this track alongside the song ‘Information’, offers the perfect background beat mix that is too good to ignore. Perhaps the most striking element of Exhibition’s artistry, is that their sound keeps offering a variety of new and exciting musical flavours at every listen, which is something that beat makers often struggle to provide. However, having both been part of bands before Exhibition was born, each of the Smith brothers has an extensive range of musical influences which they have brought to the table beautifully for this EP. 

Exhibition band 2021
Photo by Liv Rushton

Taking the listener back to the iconic sounds of the 80s, the track ‘Walk’ features glowing synth beats and a syncopated sub bass line beat throughout that carries the structure of the song. Introducing a vibrato guitar, that is submerged in reverb and chorus, into the mix makes it reminiscent of the band Vulfpeck – it is the perfect blend of nonchalance and instrumentally creative intuition. The same can be said for their song ‘Coin’, which was released as the duo’s debut single and is a personal favourite because of its infectiously groovy nature. Taking influence from the guitar tones of Oscar Jerome and the licks of Tom Misch, this track will be played on repeat at drunken summer parties that are yet to come. 

Arguably the most enjoyable part of listening to a beat maker’s work is that it can sometimes take on an unexpected sonic journey, and this is the case for the track ‘Adult Soul’, which dips in and out of driven crunchy sub bass lines and transient synth lead breaks dispersed throughout. To contrast, the EP ends spectacularly as Exhibition finish their collection with the track ‘Bloom’, which includes hints of inspiration from Petit Biscuit’s ‘Sunset Lover’ and creates a nostalgic atmosphere with hazy synths and the laziest beats on the EP. It offers reflection and the most glorious sense of escapism in a desperate world. 

Like a bag of pick ‘n mix, when it comes to Exhibition, a listener never knows what they are going to get, making their artistry all the more thrilling! As they continue to write, produce, and release new beat tapes for listeners to submerge themselves in, we cannot wait to see how these two brilliantly talented individuals will thrive throughout the Northern scene. So beat makers beware – you have some competition! 

Words by Lucy Tessier

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