Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Cassette: Wilmoth Axel "S/L" (Personal Archives)
Edition of 50 //
It has been almost three years since I last reviewed a double cassette (Two tapes, three albums, four sides) by Wilmoth Axel. It's quite amazing to think about how much has changed in three years. The things I've been through in that time. The music which has been released. And just the state of the world in general. I suppose you never really think of three years as being that long of a time until you live through it (or almost don't).
On "S/L", which I feel like should be "S/T" as I want to keep typing that and thinking of it as being self-titled, there are a lot of guitars. Well, okay, maybe there are only a handful of guitars- three or four- but they do a lot of music making and these songs all seemed to be fueled by the various aspects of what a guitar is capable of in the proper hands. At first it sounds like bass and drums and in that I think I also hear a sax I believe. It has a driving, ambient jazz sound to it which is probably a case of three words and two of them not belonging together.
The bass thunders. There is a synth type drone in the background. Overall this just rocks. It begins to grow more upbeat, as if there are pianos in it, and then it gets back to that instrumental rock which is borderline psych. Synth comes out next that makes me think this could be something from "The Lost Highway" soundtrack and the answer to why they don't make great soundtracks anymore is because they don't make great movies anymore.
The banging of the drums, the weirdo space rock, clanky guitars and then the sound of stomping the drums more than anything brings these songs to what has an almost western feel to it. It's not country and not like a showdown in Old West or anything, but it just makes me feel like we're wandering through one of those old ghost towns, tumbleweed and all. Before Side A reaches an end it gets a little bit funky and then the drums can come through like drum shots as well.
On the flip side we're back to that wandering country sound which makes me think for some reason this would be a great soundtrack to explore a country by foot but somewhere not highly populated (out of the city). You could probably get lost listening to this in the desert in somewhere like Arizona and die. A FNL build now. Some distorted synth comes out with the rock. Beeping as well. It turns into this classic rock feel and just begins to remind me of "The Devil's Rejects". (Though there is also a hint of Johnny Cash)
It's a lot of guitars and they begin to talk for themselves: like Frampton, they come alive. Distorted guitars and the drum beat give away parts of something like Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out", but this is a song which would fit in well during that era with anything like The White Stripes, etc. The pace gets slower now, a bit more calm and I'm hearing a bit of Soundgarden before all is said and done. Just looking back at the range on this makes it feel like more than album and, again, these are things I didn't one person could do with a guitar. If listening to this one be prepared to have your mind blown.