Songs of Innocence [Capitol, 1968]
Songs of Experience [Capitol, 1969]
Earth Rot [Capitol, 1970]
1968 to 1970 An Axelrod Anthology (comp) [Stateside, 1999]
Rock Interpretation of Handel’s Messiah [RCA, 1971]
The Auction [Decca, 1972]
Heavy Axe [Fantasy, 1974]
Seriously Deep [Polydor, 1975]
Strange Ladies [MCA, 1977]
Marchin' [MCA, 1980]
David Axelrod was a producer at Capitol who designed albums for the Adderleys and Lou Rawls. His first two solo lps had him literally inventing the genre of orchestrated beats, preceding the melancholic aesthetic of triphop by a clean 25 years. These are exquisite records, the strings are sadly beautiful yet never sugary. While all original Axelrod's are tough to find, as you'll be in severe competition with the beat-diggers, the relatively easy-to-score Stateside compilation covers a lot of the heaviest moments from his first three offerings, as well as some key production work from the same era. Subsequent recordings (Messiah and The Auction) found him dabbling less successfully in libretto work, then ultimately embracing electronic funk with Heavy Axe and its monstrous successor, Seriously Deep. Heavy Axe ain't the best of the era but it still rates for the half that was penned by Axelrod. Some of the covers are, uh, more successful than others. ("You're So Vain" was just a bad choice, nothing more, and there ain't nobody who could've rescued that one.) Seriously Deep on the other hand, is pure and mighty. Brilliantly positioning Axe's memorable themes and strings alongside Ndugu's solid traps and Joe Sample's prominent ARP manipulations, the album is a total success. While all tracks are solid, "Ken Russell" is a notably scandalous beast that's sure to unwind some of your DNA coils. Soulful, funky and cosmic with far too many open breaks to be considered healthy, Deep was a miserable item to track down. Pray for reissues. [DW]
I DEEPLY "FEEL" AND ALMOST AGREE WITH WHAT YOU SAY REGARDING AXELROD. HOWEVER, ALL ARTISTS EXPERIMENT, GROW TO FURTHER THEIR "MUSE".WHY NOT TALK ABOUT HIS ONLY "LIVE" DVD AND CD. OR THE
FACT AXELROD HAS BEEN SAMPLED 40 YEARS LATER BY OVER 100 HIP-HOP MCS? MOST RECENTLY LIL WAYNE ON HIS "MEGA" CARTER 3 (DR. CARTER/HOLY THURSDAY") OR PERHAPS
MENTION TWO FULL TRACKS ON "GRAND THEFT AUTO 4". IT THE POPULACE WHO IS ALWAYS BEHIND THE TRUE ARTIST'S VISION. EARTH ROT WAS AND IS NOW IN VOGUE. THINK..THE TITLE NOW SHOULD BE "GLOBAL WARMING". MARCHIN IS A MOTHER OF AN ALBUM, AND WHY PLAY IT SAFE? AS L. ARMSTRONG SAID "IF YOU DON'T GET IT, YOU WON'T"!
Seriously Deep is a very different musical direction for David Axelrod. On here he has moved away from the orchestral and almost baroque styles he used on his earlier recordings on Claptiol and RCA, and moved into more of a jazz-funk fusion setting, a style that would also stick with him for the next two albums. The production on here, done by Jimmy Bowen and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, is a lot less dramatic than you are used to from a David Axelrod album. This album doesn’t feel like it was recorded in a room the size of the moon with instruments the size of cities, the whole thing feels a little more manageable in size, but no less impressive. Musically it’s definitely the most accessible and funky of all his recordings. Not predictable disco based funk that was doing the rounds in ‘75, much more experimental and jazzier funk. The opening track “Miles Away” could be classed as a full-on floor-filling stomper that for me is the real high point on the album. The rest of the album ranges from the beautiful soul groover “One” with magical Fender Rhodes work by jazz-funk legend Joe Sample, to the very menacing and quite dark appreciation track “Ken Russell”. Above everything though, what you do get on here are beats, and I mean beats by the bucket-load. In short ‘Seriously Deep’ is the beat-head’s Holy Grail. You will not find many albums that offer such a vast quantity of open beats, or such prominent beats.