You could broadly describe their sound as barrelling warehouse techno, underpinned by the kind of scowling, blackened bass sounds that link Silent Servant, Anthony Rother with The Cramps. A distinct post-punk, electro-noir shadow lies across Exercise One's work. But that's only the basic chassis upon which Exercise One build their machine funk. On "Verlooka" they finesse a minimal wave sound with a little Balearic soft rock guitar. On "Stay," with its flickering, atmospheric electronics and pitch-shifted, undead vocals, they basically out-Knife The Knife. Both tracks show how naturally they stray from identifiable styles and floor-ready bangers.
Not that they struggle to get feet moving. "Gatium" is an outrageous rehabilitation of minimal techno's playful absurdity. Atop a warm and dubby fug of splashy hi-hats and percolating bass, a drunken, dislocated synth line wanders to and fro, charming in its bumbling aimlessness. Indeed, as much as Exercise One deal in dark music, the warm melodies and generally fun nature of their work is one of its key aspects. "Electric Glare," for instance, is a riot of pulsating synths and jackhammer beats that plays on voguish industrial sounds. It never quite coaleses into a dance floor track, but thanks to its taut, vintage-electro elasticity, it sounds weirdly effervescent. "The Raven," meanwhile, hovers in Berghain territory, but features a fat, globular riff much more hooky and direct than anything you might hear on Ostgut Ton. It's a subtle kind of subversion, perhaps, but Exercise One never do quite what you expect. That is always admirable, and at times it sounds fantastic.