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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

AXESS: Chamaeleon (2003)

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

Beats, ambiences and melodies can easily coexist with the multiple twists & turns of EM

1 The Alien 9:57

2 Desire 11:25

3 Floating 7:44

4 Chamaeleon 19:44

5 The Sirius Mystery 9:32

6 A Dream is Always A Dream 11:29

(CD-r/DDL 69:56) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School, EDM)

Here is an album of Axess which made me very good to hear again. Hearing the sound fauna and the vocal effects of the introduction with your eyes closed, so the link to connect with The Alien is automatically made. We have this vague impression of floating in a black hole, when a superb nervous and uncontrollable sequence loaded of hopping oscillations, some of them are admirably out of tune, whirls with strength and speed. A discreet bass pulsation supports this spasmodic sequence which is surrounded by sound streaks. The pulsation becomes the equal of the sequencer while the metallic percussions forge the image of a rhythmic train that the synth overflies the whole of it in extending sweet laments. The drums hammer out an accentuated beat over another melodious sequence which flows in cascades over synths with floating layers and harmonious lines. Firmly anchored in its rhythm, The Alien forks on a milder passage, before resuming its animated sequence to finally die out in the atmospheric streaks near the black hole and these extraterrestrial languages. With its quilted beats and dark sound effects, Desire is a title which features a gloomy Redshift-style intro, but also this Tangerine Dream's Silver Scale crescendo. In the distance, pulsations are heard, approaching with a sequential line whose harmonies stick to the pulsations which accelerate their cadences. Very melodious, the sequence follows a tangent minimalism, turning on the same circle, which is enriched by superb serpentine notes floating on violin strata, rich and dense. The more Desire goes forward, the more the addition of tones seems to modify its rhythm, as it becomes more and more harmonious with a fine subtlety in the chords which give an enveloping melodious depth. Floating is a strange stationary maelstrom where synth keys and streaks swirl around this floating eddy. If you have the chance to listen to this track at a high volume, do so. It is at this moment that it takes on all its breadth and splendor, before bringing us into the atmospheric spheres of the title piece and of its sound effects which coat floating layers.

Chameleon will become a flagship title in Axess' discography. We're talking about a track that flirts with 20 minutes and that makes an excellent transition from a tasty Berlin School to a lively Funk-EDM that still remains close to its roots, after an ambient-spherical bridge of plus or minus two minutes. The whole is fed of splendid synth solos to take your breath away, in the Berlin School mode as in EDM. The synth is soft and moves according to the requested speed, sometimes even slowing down the ambiences versus the rhythms, with these poignant solos by Axel Stupplich. By the very fact of Pyramid Peak. An excellent title with guaranteed thrills! Dark and heavy, The Sirius Mystery intro is utterly… mysterious. A slow movement which agitates on cascading notes and percussions which mark an excited rhythm. Nervous, the synth multiplies layers with different tones which surround this semi techno rhythm, slowed down by violin layers. In the 2nd part, nothing retains the rhythm which twirls without holding back on chords and nervous solos. A Dream Is Always A Dream ends this 2nd opus by Axess on a more intimate, more relaxed note. On a smooth tempo, the synth pushes melodious segments until the rhythm spins more freely, increasing its cadence on violin strata. A light whirlwind which becomes a wonderful synthetic ode, where the synth blows nostalgic harmonies which envelops us in the comfortable warmth of a timeless ballad. The 2nd part is quite exceptional and slips towards a superb finale for an album that we would like to hear and hear again, even 15 years after having written this review.

Honestly, I was very impressed by CHAMAELEON which has some beautiful gems. With this 2nd solo album, Axess shows that harmonies, rhythms, ambiences and melodies can easily coexist with the multiple twists and turns of moving structures, in particular these transitions between ambient phases towards EDM. An excellent album that instantly leaves a sound imprint. I'm listening it while transferring this retouched review from the Blogspot to this WebZine about EM.

Sylvain Lupari (December 5th, 2006) ****½*

Available at Axess-Music

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