Having first taken a peek at Jerry Axson’s website (see the above link) I can say I was totally overwhelmed by the layout and complexity of the equipment. In fact it is a preverbal ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of studio equipment and instrumentation. You have to admire anyone who puts their heart, soul and finance into managing and producing such an enterprise. Gerry has involved himself with a whole host of different music projects both for himself and the community resulting in a fair sized back catalogue of past music ventures. So, it is only fair to sit up and take some notice because these kind of guys are the unspoken heroes of the music industry devoting their time and innovativeness in providing a music service for others besides,that is, recording his own music for the enjoyment of others..
Anyway, under review here is Jerry’s latest album entitled ‘Pale Blue Dot’ which comprises six self-penned tunes that are explicitly keyboard orientated tracks overlaid with an interesting assortment of well-crafted guitar contributions and other layered sound enhancements. Certainly, a common thread to the music is a combination of deeply resonant interlocking rhythmic guitar and bass guitar patterns that act as a foundation and which drive the music forward with much energy and purpose. A fair amount of keyboard variety is injected into the scores including a fair amount of experimentation with the different instrumental keyboard selectors. For example track 2, a kind of take off of ‘Queen’s - Another One Bites the Dust’ is saturated in fun and frolic taking off in all kinds of interesting angles with amusing lyrics.
There are heaps of things to admire and enjoy with respect to the self-assurance of the arrangements. The intricate construction, of each individual track must of absorbed an exceptional amount of time and with it oodles of his patience as he single-handedly assembled the various guitar parts and other loops including sound effect layers. This together with the continued development of the various scores and the incorporation of additional ideas as the numerous tunes in the process of development progressed.
I would hazard a guess that Gerry’s obvious passion for studio technology and keyboard enterprise have actually overtaken a previous leaning towards the electric guitar. I must say that I much preferred the more open cleaner sounding guitar elements of the music (track 5 and 6) rather than the more intense sometimes compressed sound of the multi keyboard chord sequences. One area of the musical output where further progress could be made is the resultant and overall effect projected by, what sounds like, a drum machine that comes over as being somewhat labored and very mechanical.
Certainly, Jerry’s vocals are pleasurable, although he doesn’t quite come over as a natural singer, but he does very well. Some kind of accompaniment would strengthen this element of the vocal output. From the promo notes, I understand that ‘Jerry’ shares his music live and I guess he sells his CDs online and at gigs which is great and I hope it goes some way of contributing to his costs.
Summary: An enjoyable set of songs from an enthusiastic multi-instrumental tunesmith.
Artwork: Simple but nicely designed.