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Axolotl - Telesma

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Artist: Axolotl

Album: Telesma

Label: Spooky Action

Review date: Mar. 15, 2007

If there are two camps of noise - holistic vs hubristic; psychedelic vs pugilistic; the joyous vs the jock - then Karl Bauer’s Axolotl recordings plot most thoroughly the route away from bully-boy excess and ever-outwards to an approximately infinite universe, with Telesma his calling card, the deepest and most affecting set he’s yet unleashed. Bauer sources drone as his bedrock and he repeatedly excites the flat-line by pushing everything just into the red and then letting molecules of texture and distortion bump against each other, mapping constellations of unbridled ecstatic tone.

The engorged electricity and loop logic that inhabits Telesma suggests any number of peers and precedents - imagine Astral Social Club remixing those mid-period Cluster records; the massed hum of Takehisa Kosugi overpowering Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas and All projects; a ten-year old LaMonte Young sighing to the shortwave non-songs of Sunroof! It’s deeply suggestive stuff. But Bauer’s trail into the eternal is littered with personal touches, from the fairy floss white noise of “Apergy” to the organ-as-bee-swarm purr of the title track, where Bauer’s lips and tongue seemingly kiss the cosmos.

Anyone who has spent any time following up the complex topography of post-Dream Syndicate higher-mind drone sound will have lost a good portion of their hearing to lesser ingrates – hipsters genuflecting to Conrad and company without sourcing the breathless rhapsody of internal flight. Well, you’re on safe ground with Axolotl - no Johnny-come-lately, Bauer’s one of the few psychonauts pushing the field through into the next torched, glittering zone of ecstasy. Easily the best released-in-2006-but-I-didn’t-hear-it-until-2007, reissue-of-limited-CDR I ever did encounter.

By Jon Dale

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