JAVI CANOVAS: Axiom (2014)
Updated: May 18
“Axiom is an interesting collection of short tracks where the sequencing shines of its analog and digital fragrances”
1 Sima 4:07 2 Descent 5:57 3 Masker 3:52 4 Axiom 6:39 5 Invisible Symbol 5:21 6 Hydrometry 5:26 7 Crush 6:15 8 Forbidden Zone 3:53 9 Relapse 5:38 10 The Seeker 6:15 11 Transcription 4:06 12 Allegory 4:00 13 Almost Imperceptible 4:45 14 Heavy Colour 7:52
(DDL 74:13) (V.F.)
(Sequencer-based Berlin School)
One of the most attractive seductions of the Berlin School is this possibility that have the authors and musicians to tie rhythms and melodies through some long structures fed by cosmic or chthonian atmospheres, or yet throughout meditative soundscapes. Get these elements out of this musical genre is like to eat a filet mignon without accompaniments. Some people will like, others will miss the sauce, the potatoes or the vegetables. AXIOM is this filet mignon. It's an album which is aimed to fans of meat. To fans of sequenced rhythms built, excepted for the very ambient Heavy Colour which is nearer of the nomadic moods of 2013's Cracks in the Air, around jumping keys which bloom and scatter in all directions in order to create a brochette of rhythms rather diversified. For this last album, Javi Canovas wanted to try something different with a series of short tracks which shine in movements of sequences in tones more livelier than ever. If each track possesses its unique cachet, the synth wizard of Spain makes a sense of honor to merge analog tones to the colors of digital era, giving an album which unites marvellously the tones of bass to others more crystalline into patterns of acrobatic rhythms.
Sima begins with a storm of sequenced keys. Tones of bass, others crystal clear ones and some others more sizzling are parading in a mess of rhythmic lines which rise, come down and crisscross each others like tightrope walkers on a bicycle rolling on wires shaken by ample oscillations. The rhythm is heavy and lively. It spins with little wings of metal and electronic percussions of which the splinters draw a thick cloud of birds which pecks at a texture as well cosmic than very Teutonic. The sound textures are appreciably the same, except that Canovas has, this time, a clear tendency for more lunar atmospheres. And every track, in spite of certain resemblances here and there, offers a structure of rhythm of its own which sticks well enough to the visions of his author. So Descent offers a more sneaky movement with lines of rhythms which either crawl or tumble down a slope on the brakes. The track catches the hearing rather quickly because of its perfume which releases the ambiences of Tangerine Dream's Flashpoint. After the jerked and colored rhythm of Masker, the title-track plunges us into a structure of rhythm braided by multiple loops where the keys spin with violence in breezes to the colors of the nostalgia. The rhythm is static and violent, and I challenge you to drumming it with your fingers and follow its pace. This is a great Berlin School, perfumed of cosmic breezes a la Jean-Michel Jarre, with keys which try desperately to extricate themselves from these uncountable loops which enclose it. I don't know why, but that reminds me the violence of Steve Roach's static rhythms on Empetus. Idem with Transcription and its stubborn rhythm which climbs a brief oscillating curve with a thick cloud of keys in tints and timbres which mix delightfully the contrasts of the analogue and the digital.
Relapse also breathes of these static rhythmic fragrances of this period. Invisible Symbol sounds so out of tune in all this universe of splendid rhythms. It's a nice ballad with a beautiful piano and it allows our ears to breathe a little. And that restarts with the deep oscillatory rhythm of Hydrometry. The sequences buzz like a swarm in fury, while the curve of the winds breathes an ethereal approach which drowns itself literally in front of these massifs hummings and these solos which whistle braids over this mass of feverish agitation. Crush presents a more Cartesian approach. The movement is minimalist. Keys, always so furious, are skipping in the shadow of the rather nervous jingles of electronic percussions while the more the movement progresses, the more it frees other keys in juicier tones which glide in crisscrossed figures over a structure which weighs down constantly its heat. That looks like a Deep House, but without the bass pulsations. A little of tranquility? Just to rest the ears! Javi Canovas offers then another small quieter movement in Forbidden Zone with a stream of sequences which spin and chirp, with a fascinating organic harmony, in suave morphic veils. Almost Imperceptible feeds itself of the same ambiguities. Its rhythm is more or less ambient and snores in cosmic corridors. There also I like these organic tones sequences which make tremble the ambient texture and which enhance the quality of the twisted, and rather discreet moreover, solos. The Seeker offers a very good heavy rhythm with a more resonant line and a series of winged keys which criss-crosses it of a spheroidal line. The rhythm splits in a structure with gaps where the jumping keys are bouncing in the shadow of other ones, in order to peck at the line of the main rhythm. Adding so these colors and sound flavors which bicker constantly between the analog and the digital tones. Allegory is in the same vein, whereas Heavy Colour ends AXIOM with an ambient approach which is very near of Steve Roach's aboriginal soundscapes. After all, it's necessary good in an album where the jumping and flying keys devour our ears as much as the ambiences and the melodies, which are literally in background, on this surprising pallet of rhythms in so lively colors that alone the fathomless territories of EM can draw.
Sylvain Lupari (November 18th, 2014) ***½**
Avaiable at Javi Canovas Bandcamp