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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

AXESS: Fusion (2010)

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

Fusion is a big favorite with 50 minutes of EM filled of many sudden developments

1 Speed of Light 8:19

2 Fusion 13:37

3 Pictures 16:30

4 Nefilim 11:12

5 Schwerelos 7:56

6 Under A Starry Sky 11:57


(CD/DLL 69:34) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School)

More than a year after the superb Voices of Dawn, Axel Stupplich returns again to charm our ears with FUSION, an album where ambivalent rhythms are grafted to hybrid structures. If some titles are unequivocal (Speed of Light and Schwerelos), the other ones evolve in an ambience where the rhythm is latent, like slow solar implosions, with feverish and wild sequences which nourish musical frameworks at the antipodes of their rhythmic structures. An album where Axess shows off both his romantic, cosmic and melancholic sides, through his techno and upbeat visions without ever denying his Berlin School roots. In short, an album of all tastes and for all tastes.

A dark wave did not finish to undulate that already a cloud of frantic sequences falls down on the very energetic Speed of Light. A breathtaking track with its range of sequences to multiplied and diversified chords which are collide in a powerful rhythmic structure where electronic percussions and twisted waves strike and resound, adding thus a heaviness at a speed which exceeds the light of the good old German EM. Between a frantic techno and the upbeat speed, Axel Stupplich lays down soft ethereal pads of mellotron and shapes synth solos sometimes suave and sometimes strident, reminding us his Berlin School roots. Fusion is the calm after the sequenced storm that was Speed of Light. Suavely poetic and languorously hypnotic the rhythm of Fusion is relaxing and progressive, evolving on good percussions strikes, bass drum pulsations and sequences at the same time moderate and frantic. A rhythmic amalgam wrapped of a splendid synth line which subdivides its layers, and their wanderings, in a warm ethereal harmony. A soft mellotron covers this cadence sometimes soft and sometimes stormy, like a lustful oneiric waltz or a delicate bolero, at the same time moving and dramatic. Cawing of cosmic birds overhang the black cosmos of Pictures and its intro as steelmaking as cosmic. Tenebrous, the movement waltz awkwardly, brushing even an ambiance slightly distressing, with a dark synth line and wavering reverberations from where escapes whispers, linear embryos, metallic hoops and flickered percussions which weave an oddly hatched structure. A strange and slow sonic maelstrom which is gradually dissipating to let heard a fine sequential movement which zigzags in ascent of its hesitant chords under synth's over-reactions. A soft synth line undulates and hoots, like a phantom threat, on this ambivalent structure from where the first bites of Maxxess' guitar are made hear with good riffs emerging around the 7th minute. They espouse wonderfully this hesitant structure which takes its take-off with mellotron wings and fine percussions. Pictures adopts then a suave and languorous movement where superb and celestial guitar solos fly over heavenly mellotron pads and delicate fluty breezes to tangle up in a soft cosmic daydream. A great track tinted of a romantic magnetic.

Nefilim is built a little in the same frame as Pictures, guitar in less. A strange circular growl opens its intro, such a machine which is quietly getting on, under a scintillating sound prism. A fine pulsation draws a sober march girdled of a superb synth with very moving layers and spectral solos which undulate under a cloud of sequences. Sequences which dance and hop feverishly, pointing out the universe of Software while illuminating Nefilim of an oneiric beauty, whereas percussions shape a slow rhythm moderate by a synth with melancholic solos. Splendid Nefilim is torn in its evolution with its percussions which seek to explode the rhythm. A tempo honeyed captive of its sequences, which whirl without ever wanting to leave its rhythmic corridor, and of its synth to suave solos, flowing such as tears of sounds. A great track too, just like Pictures and Fusion! Schwerelos offers a good groovy structure of which the basis is a good bass line, keyboards keys a bit funky and good percussions which shape a sustained and jerked rhythm, coated of so beautiful misty layers. Simple and effective, Schwerelos sticks to the ear instantaneously, like Speed of Light but without its explosive mordant. In this regard, if Fusion, Pictures and Nefilim have charmed you, wait to hear Under a Starry Sky. Quixotic blowpipes breaths tear an intro as cosmic as atmospheric before that a superb sequencing line with chords that hop and undulate wake up the incredible Under a Starry Sky. And there, a superb synth dandles in our ears of a musical nectar where solos and melodious pads dance under a marvelous carrousel of sequences quite as eurhythmic. Sequences gambol with fine percussions, giving to Under a Starry Sky a soft and suave beat which swirls like an oneiric bewitching before being huddled in the hollow of a splendid musical refrain worthy of Vangelis' greatest moments. A great track that makes arm hairs rise and which makes melt moments of nostalgia in fine tears of deliverance.

There is little left to write after a track such as Under a Starry Sky and its innumerable mellotron layers that lull stars while exhilarating us of an oneiric softness, except that this track depicts all the ambiance as much nostalgic, melodious and stunningly rhythmic surrounding this little marvel that is FUSION. From the furious Speed of Light to the melancholic Under a Starry Sky, Axess' 6th opus is filled of softness which scatters on ambivalent and hybrids rhythms abounding throughout this album. As far as I'm concern, FUSION is a big crush with 50 minutes of music filled of sudden developments which shine between sweet space rock and true New Berlin School with sequences as limpid as crystal. One of the top 10 of 2010!

Sylvain Lupari (November 25th, 2010) ****½*

Available at Spheric Music

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