Axis Axis 1973 greece, progressive experimental rock

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Axis - Axis (1973 greece, progressive experimental rock


The music on Axis' self-titled LP from 1973 is an interesting hodge-podge of straight-up hard-rock w/good vocals and lyrics in English ("Waiting a Long Time"), keyboard-dominated symphonic progressive rock ("Sewers Down Inside", "Pa Vu Ga Di"), avant-garde jazz / weirdness ("Asymphonia I and II", "Dancing Percussion"), and Soft Machine-ish / Crimson-ish / Brand X-ish jazz-rock ("Materializing the Unlimited", "Suspended Precipice", "Roads", "The Planet Vavoura"). Despite what I just said, none of Axis' music is derivative of anyone in particular. Though Axis remind me somewhat of Morris Pert's Suntreader trio with keyboardist Peter Robinson, this seems a purely coincidental consequence of the musical direction and basic multi-keys / bass / drums instrumentation. Some of the tracks seem to run together, giving the music a sense of continuity despite all of its strange stylistic transitions. The best thing about this LP is that the musicians are able to pull off each of the different styles in a convincing manner. The star of this particular show is keyboardist / vocalist Demis Visvikis - he is a great player and a master of tweaking all sorts of unexpected sounds out of his keyboards (Fender Rhodes, Mellotron, organ) without resorting to cliched synthesizer patches. Other members include drummers George Hadjiathanassiou and Christos Stassinopoulos, and bassist Alezandros Fantis. This LP was recorded in France, at the famous Chateau d'Herouville, the production team is French and it was subsequently issued on a French record label (Riviera, a Barclay subsidiary). Drummer Christos Stassinopoulos later appeared on the second Clearlight LP (his name was misspelled "Stapinopoulos" in the credits), but I don't know anything about the subsequent activities of Visvikis or the others. A shame - Visvikis is quite a talented musician, and this particular LP is worth seeking out if you can tolerate all the different styles. Certainly a must-have for all Mellotron fans. (Dave Wayne)


Axis united musicians from late sixties groups, among them Juniors and We Five. Like Aphrodite's Child they were based in Paris for some time. In the beginning, Axis played archetypical heavy progressive rock with great organ and electric guitars. Be aware that the 1971 and 1972 releases essentially are the same album (see discography comments*)! Their classic 1973 album marked a considerable change of direction - an advanced kind of jazz-rock with a lot of improvisation. A couple of tracks were even in line with the British mellotron-rock tradition (King Crimson, Gracious and Spring).

* Discography:
1A AXIS (I) 1971 RIVIERA 521 162 (F)
1B ELA ELA 1972 RIVIERA 521 192 (F)
2 AXIS (II) 1973 RIVIERA 421 086 (F)

1A AND 1B IS BASICALLY THE IDENTICAL ALBUM. BUT ON 1B TWO TRACKS ("ELA ELA" AND "OSANNA") REPLACED TWO OTHER TRACKS.

Tracklist:

01. Waiting a long time (0:00)
02. Sewers down inside (4:30)
03. Materializing the unlimited (10:50)
04. Asymphonia I (15:53)
05. Suspendet Precipice (20:55)
06. Roads (22:43)
07. Asymphonia II (27:49)
08. Dancing Percussion (30:39)
09. Pa Vu Ga Di (33:18)
10. The Planet Vavoura (37:02)

Musicians:
* Demis Visvikis - pianos, mellotron, organ, vocals
* Alexandros Fantis - bass
* Chris Stassinopoulos - drums
* George Hadjiathanassiou drums

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