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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

AXESS: Voices of Dawn (2008)

A solid album, full of rhythms and tenderness that reveals the beauty of EM

1 Beyond the Stars 7:19

2 Zeit 12:05

3 The Return of Nibiru 11:57

4 Roppongi Hills 6:11

5 Stonehenge 10:10

6 Endless Dreams 8:17

7 Voices Of Dawn 11:28

(CD/DDL 67:38) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School)

A mix of percussions and of bouncy arpeggios open this 4th solo album of Axel Stupplich. Slow synthesized modulations cover the intro of Beyond the Stars which gets more melodic with its fine fluty line. The sequences are more biting, and the rhythm comes alive nervously under soft strata to plunge it in a nostalgic broth. Because VOICES OF DAWN is an album full of nostalgia for fans of Pyramid Peak and Axess' early solo work. If Beyond the Stars borders on the impetuous movements of a daring Jean-Michel Jarre of the 70's, Zeit plunges us into a nebulous darkness that slowly awakens under a hushed synth with cosmic breaths and a sequence that spins with more bite. Axess at his best. Hypnotic and seductive with great solos from a punchy synth and just enough rhythm to float in a starry ocean. Beyond the Stars is an excellent track here, as well as The Return of Nibiru with its swirling and jerky sequence that merges with another bouncier one, forming a spasmodic rhythm. A synth with curly waves and discreet choruses covers this fusion of the curt and jerky sequencer with percussions fed in technoïd form. The synth becomes more harmonious and flows with this paradox between rhythm and melody in an overexcited and more and more agitated ambience, feeding itself with a deluge of lines and layers of a totally disorganized but surprisingly creative synth. A boiling track that goes beyond the limits of a conventional Berlin School. The kind of track that makes the paint come off the walls.

After such aggressiveness Axess invites us into a more serene corridor with the melodious Roppongi Hills. A soft sober track with a strident synth melody that is coupled with a more harmonious mellotron. A good Klangwelt-like melody that sticks to the soul and a nice little dessert for the ears inflamed by the first 3 tracks. As far as I am concerned, Stonehenge is the jewel of VOICES OF DAWN. A dark intro pierced by metallic breaths which add a cosmic coldness to a more than nebulous movement, like some gloomy Tangerine Dream, which takes off slowly under the vapors of a touching synth on which stick barely audible vocals. A splendid sequence rolls on the movement, creating an effect of hypnosis. A delicious hypnosis which reaches its melodious paroxysm with a staccato sequence which rolls in cyclic loops in a harmonious and indulgent maelstrom to the ear. Great electronic art! One of my favorite tracks in 2008! Endless Dreams indeed brings us to eternal dreams with its soft hypnotic sequence that flows like fine percussions on a morphic synth. A soaring track in the purest Berlin School tradition. The title-track also concludes on a floating movement with good synth waves that oscillate in a heavy atmosphere wrapped in unctuous strata. VOICES OF DAWN takes a slightly languorous tangent with a bass line that pulses faintly with soft percussions.

After a long silence of 3 years, Axess comes back in strength with an album impossible to avoid. In VOICES OF DAWN, he confirms his immense talent of composer and of sound visionary with a superb mixture of a retro Berlin School with a more contemporary one. A solid album, full of rhythms, unexpected developments and tenderness that reveals all the beauty and subtlety of the EM art. Art for ears!

Sylvain Lupari (March 4th, 2009) *****

Available at Spheric Music

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