AXESS: Seashore (2018)
Updated: Nov 26
“Seashore is a nice collection of 7 titles with moods as light as the rhythmic structures that animate them”
1 Olympus Mons 10:34 2 Snowflakes 9:26 3 Pure Obsession 10:24 4 Seashore 12:08 5 La Luna 10:46 6 Tranquility Base 8:57 7 In Orbit 8:38
(CD 71:05) (V.F.) (Chill Out, Down-tempos)
When the Spheric Music label announced this summer that a new Axess album was planned for the fall. This news had delighted many fans of the Berlin School style. And that's quite normal since Axel Stupplich, whether with Pyramid Peak, Pyramaxx or Axess, is handling the Berlin School style with a superb rhythmic and melodic vision. But then, after the secret aired out, we learned that SEASHORE was oriented to a Chill Out style in the genre of Mind Over Matter (sic!) or Café Del Mar. Mind Over Matter? It's okay! Café Del Mar? I'm not really sure to have affinities with this genre ... Except that after a few plays, which have flowed so easily, I fell under the spells of this latest Axess album which, indeed, surfs on the moods of Café Del Mar style. Even more than those of M.O.M.'s which I haven't found dominant perfumes at all. In fact, SEASHORE flirts with the vibes of Food for Fantasy and Robert Schroeder.
The introduction of Olympus Mons does rather Berlin School / New Age with knocks tinkling in azure mists. The tick-tock is a rhythmic dangling which stretches its presence while the moods thicken with a vision always dreamlike. The introductions, like the finals, of the album are consistent with the evolving moments, as the regressive ones, of the slow musical embraces of EM. A bass line is crawling languorously in this setting where the chime of the jingles excites our expectations. Electronic percussions tie up with this approach around the 3rd minute, sinking the rhythm of Olympus Mons into a down-tempo decorated with lunar decorations. Do the pace is getting excited? Not really! It flows with a gentle velocity, choosing rather to seduce at the first listen than to enchant on long term ... The strength, and also the weakness, of SEASHORE. Although I don't see any relationship with the meaning of its title, Snowflakes offers a more dynamic pace but just as soft. Before we are entitled to a good 2 minutes of introduction designed in a form of astral nebulosity. The synth multiplies Inuit songs on a bank of percussive effects borrowed from the universe of the psybient. No snowflake effects here! Just a gentle rhythm which emerges and gradually turns into a very good down-tempo more lively than morphic. A voice of goddess whispers sweetness to our ears on this structure which preserves a certain homogeneity with a small purely ambient break with wandering chords in search of its original beat. It's very good and I hear effects unique to the signature of Axel Stupplich here. I'm told that it's also very Café Del Mar!
In this vein, Pure Obsession follows with a good Chill Out quite dynamic. The rhythm wanders at the gates of Morpheus with a rhythm of plumb which is nourished by the essential vitamins of EM. These sound effects and other percussive chords feed well a pace which accelerates a bit more. The title-track is a beautiful slow-tempo that brings us to the cosmos. The movement is slow and well framed by a melody which floats like blue ink stains whose ripples are propelled by invisible impulses. The progression of Seashore is pure candy for the ears with an accentuated rhythm and a still better-defined melody in a sumptuous electronic decoration. And all this arrangement gives us a serious thrill, so much its intense and poignant. La Luna follows a bit with the vibes of Seashore, but in a slightly more vigorous approach. A kind of mid-tempo with a mesh of bass pulsations and percussions, while vocal and reverb effects of guitar and keyboard chords add a melodic appeal already implanted by a melancholic piano. Tranquility Base is another down-tempo that is also in Chill Out mode with its good heavy percussions. The melody is lunar and its decor cosmic. Everything is rendered accurately. In Orbit ends this last opus of Axess with a chant of charm conceived on a battle between 6 chords and 4 others which return in series but in a more random approach. And all of this screw us a beautiful earworm in a vision of the most ethereal. At first, these chords tinkle in the colors of the prism. Subsequently, they fly and dance on a heavy and resistant down-tempo with a rumbling rhythmic membrane. The effects of echo and this series of sequenced ritornello which charm relentlessly lead us undeniably to rewind this title in this last album by Axel Axess Stupplich.
Nothing striking nor progressive, SEASHORE is a collection of titles with moods as light as the rhythm structures that animate them. It's beautiful, that's sure, catchy and easy to tame, no doubt about it. There are poignant moments and beautiful musical itches on this album whose only flaw is to be too beautiful and very accessible. It's time to sit comfortably and drift on the 71 beautiful minutes where the scents of Axel and of Pyramid Peak are not really far from this SEASHORE.
Sylvain Lupari (December 3rd, 2018) *****
Available at Spheric Music