AXESS: Selected Pieces 1999 – 2009 (2020)
Updated: Nov 26, 2020
“A nice compilation with good titles, and above all an honest overview of Axel Stupplich's first albums. We can't ask for more!”
1 Time Traveller 5:56
2 Children 13:28
3 A Dream is Always a Dream 11:30
4 Bombay Fruit Market 6:26
5 Desire 10:39
6 Infinity 15:25
7 Lost in Space 5:26
8 Sorrow 8:55
9 Echoes of Eternity 11:35
(DDL 89:26) (V.F.)
(EDM, New Berlin School, E-Rock)
A shadow of sound has not finished breathing that already a line of spasmodic oscillations seizes it in order to inject this fusion of electronic rock and techno that percussions are called to cement. There is not 50 seconds on the meter that Time Traveler, from the album of the same name, has already brought us to this area where electronic rock is losing its identity to EDM. I had completely forgotten how much the old Axess' music could have rhythmic tentacles that already bordered the hymns of Dance Music since First Light in 2002. Did you forget too? Others had no idea? In these cases, this compilation of titles chosen by Axel Stupplich himself is there to remind it. SELECTED PIECES 1999-2009 is a nice gift for fans of the Pyramid Peak member and a good invitation card to discover his universe that we thought it was Berlin School, but which is just not! The remaster is felt, as in many other similar cases, at the level of the sound power and the sharpness of the sound effects and other elements inserted in order to enhance the interest of our listening. Time Traveler takes full advantage of it in the detail of the organic gurglings and the synth pads which increase the level of chthonic ambiences in this big Rock'n'EDM's album that makes think of a good Andy Pickford. The albums targeted by this compilation are Time Traveler with 3 titles, while Chameleon and First Light offer 2 each. We thus follow the creative curve of this excellent musician who cut his teeth on Trance Goa at the beginning of the 2000's to manage to offer over the course of his albums an EM balanced precisely between EDM, Techno and New Berlin School styles. And always and forever, our hearing is coiled up on the divine sounds of his synths. Generous with his talent, he offers 2 unreleased tracks that sound like in the heyday of Chameleon, certainly his most beautiful album of this era.
Children is one of those titles. Its opening is strummed by percussive sequences which roll delicately in the basis of a lullaby. The synth deposits its cosmic mist there while spreading out good solos which bring us into space. A good bass line solidifies the rhythmic links while manual percussions, mostly cosmic tom-toms, support this musical mass where elements are constantly added which help to make this transition from an ambient music to music of a cosmic essence which is tortured by an electric six-strings and constantly coaxed by nice orchestrations. We reach a level where voices whisper and sing initiating this overture where Children surprises us with a good tribal-cosmic rhythm à la Pyramid Peak. Majestic, the synth solos inject this PP essence into a huge track that will amaze you on many levels. Excellent! The other unreleased track is Sorrow. It offers a circular rhythm carried by a string of arpeggios whirling with euphoria and limpidity before clinging to a good galloping bass and sober percussions. The synth blows harmonies in the form of solos which sound like hoots of specters in broad daylight. Minimalist, this rhythm turns and turns in this structure galloping like a lost horse until the bridge of the 4 minutes where the percussions become livelier and the solos of Axess propel us in this kingdom of EM where we can dream with open eyes. A compilation album with two solid unreleased tracks, it's candy for the ears.
We go back to what we know of Axess with the always very dynamic Bombay Fruit Market as well as Lost In Space, which has a nice melody which reminds me strangely of the sweet cosmic melody of Alan Parsons on I Robot. Both tracks confirm the very dance vision à la Robert Schroeder that Time Traveler was impregnated of. Making the ending of Chameleon, A Dream is Always a Dream offers a smooth musical adventure. Ambient, the rhythm begins to whirl in a stroboscopic vision with percussions à la Jean-Michel Jarre and a circular pulsating line being lost in a slight whirlwind where finally clinging a superb synth solo with so stylized harmonies bearing the seal Axel Stupplich. Desire is also part of this album and offers an evolving approach of ambient music to these rhythms of Rock'n'EDM. We dip again our ears in the First Light album. After a dark, chthonic texture, Infinity fires us upside down with a long Techno structure stigmatized in a Trance & GOA anthem. Yes, Axess was even doing electronic Trash-GOA at the beginning of 00's. Echoes of Eternity does not give its place by appropriating certain percussive elements of the Peak fauna in a circular structure jostled by these effects and percussions which hammer this spasmodic rhythmic ring. This super catchy music strikes a knot of cosmic ambiences elements before reconnecting in a heavy synth-pop structure jostled by the creative boom-boom of percussions and especially embellished by these gorgeous celestial solos from the Axess' synth sounds. A nice compilation with good titles, and above all an honest overview of Axel Stupplich's first albums. We can't ask for more!
Sylvain Lupari (November 25th, 2020) *****
Available at Axess-Music Bandcamp