Axolotl - Memory Theatre [Important Records - 2007]Axolotl make a mix of crude drone music/sound haze scapes, utilizing guitar and all manner of other sound elements to create vast walls of harmonic sound that swirl and ebb around the listener like psychedelic fog. Memory Theatre brings together tracks from several out of print cdr, vinyl only releasers and compilations.
Karl Bauer who is Axolotl has collaborated with the likes of Black Dice, Moutus and Double Leopards in the past, but this just brings together his own sound constructions with a little percussive help from William Sabiston on a few tracks. All the tracks are effective enough mix of aged and battered drone wear with some noise elements present, but they never become too choking or suffocating. Axolotl work is really about stretching out harmonic and often haunted elements of the sound like a low grade noisy cousin of William Basinski, Bauer pulls out repetitive and stuck audio sheens of sound. Though some of this still sounds somewhat rudimentary and naïve with little sound texture development in places, there are some very enjoyable moment here. In particular on the latter part of the disk with pieces like track six that loops out and hazes a mysterious and haunted piano/string music with deep down meditif hum and latter static crackle touches. Or track eight's elegant garden of sound coming to spring life mix of warming guitar drone loop, bell and rustling like elements, really quite tranquil and drug hazed in it’s unfolding waves of harmonic haze.
Though this is far from perfect, like many early career compilations there’s enough charm and developing sound craft to make this worthwhile. I look forward to seeing what Bauer does in the future.Roger Batty