AXEL KRYGIER-HOMBRE DE PIEDRA.
AXEL KRYGIER-HOMBRE DE PIEDRA.
Axel Krygier’s career began thirty years ago, back in 1985. Since then, the Buenos Aries’ born multi-instrumentalist has established a reputation as a musical maverick, who continually, has pushed musical boundaries to their limits, and sometimes, beyond. That’s apparent on Axel Krygier’s genre-melting fifth album, Hombre De Piedra, (Man Of Stone), which was recently released by Crammed Discs.
Unlike Axel Krygier’s previous albums, Hombre De Piedra is a concept album. This however, is no ordinary concept album. No. Hombre De Piedra is is a musical collage, inspired by the French documentary Lascaux: Le Ciel des Premiers Hommes, which was a study of the the famous paleolithic cave paintings. Lascaux: Le Ciel des Premiers Hommes caught Axel Krygier’s imagination. So, he set out to what many people thought was impossible, and tell the story of mankind on Hombre De Piedra.
Over Hombre De Piedra’s eleven tracks, musical genres and influences are combined by Axel Krygier. He fuses everything from lounge and dubstep to funky disco, Balkan rapture and rockabilly. There’s even a nod to the Ennio Morricone’s Spaghetti Western soundtracks. Helping Axel Krygier do what his doubters thought was impossible, were a few of his musical friends.
When recording of Hombre De Piedra began in Buenos Aires, Axel was joined by a few familiar faces. This includes members of Axel’s band, including drummer Diego Arcaute, basssist Seca Cutaia, guitarist Juan Ravioli and Manuel Schaller on synths and theremin. They’re joined by Axel’s fellow countryman Daniel Malingo, and French artist Judy Warsky. She was a member of Axel’s band a few years ago, and makes a welcome return on Hombre De Piedra. It was written, composed, arranged and produced by Axel, who plays various instruments and sings on Hombre De Piedra. There are, it seems, no end to Axel Krygier’s talents.
That’s why, nowadays, Axel Krygier is one of the most respected artists in Argentina’s thriving musical scene. However, there’s more to Axel Krygier than meets the eye. Apart from his five solo albums, Axel writes film soundtracks and has written music for plays, musical and dance performances. As if that’s not enough, Axel even designs his own record sleeves and directs his own music videos. Axel Krygier you’ll realise, is one of the most talented Argentinian musicians. That’ll become apparent when I tell you about Hombre De Piedra.
Opening Hombre de Piedra is Hombre de Piedra (La Caverna de Lascaux). From the opening bars, it’s a captivating track where influences melt into one. This includes lounge music, hip hop, exotica, Latin and rock. Swathes of dancing synths are joined by pounding drums as the arrangement takes on a cinematic sound. Drums, shimmering guitars and Axel’s vocal combine with backing vocals. Later, Axel’s vocal takes on sci-fi sound. This is just the latest in a series of curveballs. By then, the music is jazz-tinged, cinematic, soulful dramatic and dance-floor friendly.
Lo Tendré Que Adivinar sees another change in style. Elements of disco, funk and Latin combine to create an anthem in-waiting. That’s the case from the funky, chiming guitars and piano that set the scene for Axel’s tender vocal. Harmonies coo, before keyboards, guitars and the rhythm section. Synths and handclaps augment Axel’s vocal and harmonies. Seamlessly, Axel drops instruments in at just the right moment. That’s the case with the blazing horns. They’re the finishing touch to a truly irresistible, hook-laden dance track.
Axel has time to pour himself a drink before Alcohol decides to show its delights. Blazing horns, slow, thunderous drums and flourishes of piano combine to create a slow, sultry backdrop. This is perfect for Axel’s vocal. It’s heartfelt, and impassioned. Sweeping, ethereal harmonies are added. So, are a jazz-tinged guitar and the unmistakable sound of a Hammond organ. Just like previous tracks, Axel, forever the musical alchemist, combines musical genres to create something new and innovative.
From the get-go, the arrangement to Mosquito gallops along. The track sounds as if it belongs on a Spaghetti Western soundtrack. Timpani sound, as surf guitars are added. They play an important part in the track’s sound and success. Meanwhile, the arrangement gallops relentlessly along. Percussion accompanies another heartfelt vocal from Axel. So, do harmonies and shimmering guitars, on what’s another captivating cinematic track from Axel Krygier.
Esa Paz shows yet another side to the musical chameleon that is Axel Krygier. Ethereal, cooing harmonies are panned. Meanwhile, drums crack and a bass bounds. It’s akin to a 21st Century symphony. Then it’s all change. Axel’s wistful vocal enters. He sings a duet with Judy. They’re voices compliment each other on what’s a beautiful ballad.
As the bass drives the arrangement to Tiempo y Tierra along a husky horn plays. They’re briefly responsible for a jazz-tinged arrangement. Soon, the arrangement heads in the direction of rockabilly. However, as we’ve come to expect from Axel, this is rockabilly with a twist. As guitars, a Hammond organ and the rhythm section combine, there’s even a reggae influence that shines through. As for Axel’s vocal, it’s transformed by effects. It’s just the latest curve ball. The next are the ethereal, angelic harmonies. They come right out of left-field. Having stopped you in your tracks, you wonder where the track is heading. From there everything from jazz, funk, rockabilly, reggae and surf guitars combine. It’s a glorious, multilayered musical fusion that’s sure to captivate.
Straight away, Mi Piel Animal (El Último de los Selknam) takes on a cinematic sound. That’s down to the piano, eerie strings, hypnotic drums and washes of quivering guitars. Then there’s the way the tempo varies. This adds to the haunting and dramatic cinematic sound. So does Axel’s vocal and the eerie harmonies. Along with the shimmering guitars, Axel and friends create the soundtrack to a film that must be made.
Horror Vacui is a short track, lasting a minute. It’s a musical dichotomy. It veers between ethereal and understated to eerie and haunting. Flourishes of piano and haunting harmonies create a track that sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack to a long lost horror movie.
Briefly, the introduction to Marinerito sounds not unlike the introduction to Horror Vacui. That’s until washes of slide guitar, Fender Rhodes and pounding drums join a bounding bass. Soon, Axel’s vocal, and soaring, Helter Skelter harmonies enter. Later, the arrangement becomes choppy. So are Axel’s vocal and the harmonies. Sound effects, sci-fi sounds and muted horns are added, as Axel the musical alchemist pushes musical boundaries. There’s even a nod towards The Beatles’ psychedelic masterpiece Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, towards the end of this innovative musical collage.
Changarín sees Axel change direction again. This time, Hombre De Piedra heads in the direction of Balkan rapture. Washes of guitar shimmer, before the Hammond organ, occasional braying horns and rhythm section drive the arrangement along. Bursts of laughter, hollers and sound effects are added. Together, they ensure Changarín gallops along, winning friends and influencing people.
Invitame, a fusion of blues and dubstep closes Hombre De Piedra. Blues and dubstep may seem like strange bedfellows. They’re not. They work well together. A myriad of space age, sci-fi sound effects are unleashed. They’re combine to create another genre-melting track from musical pioneer, Axel Krygier.
For anyone still to discover Axel Krygier’s music, then Hombre De Piedra is the perfect opportunity to do so. It’s a truly ambitious concept album. Hombre De Piedra is is a musical collage, inspired bythe French documentary Lascaux: Le Ciel des Premiers Hommes. This study of the famous paleolithic cave paintings inspired Axel set out to tell the story of mankind over the course of Hombre De Piedra’s eleven tracks. Many people thought that this was impossible. Not Axel. He believed in himself and his music.
With a few of his musical friends, Axel recorded not just an ambitious musical collage, but a groundbreaking one. On Hombre De Piedra Axel pushes musical boundaries to their limits, and sometimes, way beyond. To do this, Axel, a musical alchemist, combines musical genres and influences. This includes Balkan rapture, blues, disco, dubstep, exotica, funk, hip hop, Latin, lounge and rock. There’s even a nod to Ennio Morricone’s Spaghetti Western soundtracks and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Then there’s Dick Dale inspired surf guitars. Soundtracks have also obviously influenced Axel Krygier.
That’s not surprising. As well as enjoying a career as a solo artist, Axel Krygier writes film soundtracks. He’s also written music for plays, musical and dance performances. Axel’s talents even extend to designing his own record sleeves and directing his own music videos. There’s no doubt that Axel Krygier is one of the most talented Argentinian musicians of his generation.
Aged forty-six, Axel Krygier celebrates thirty years in music this year. During that period, Axel has released five albums. His latest album, Hombre De Piedra was recently released by Crammed Discs. Hombre De Piedra is without doubt Axel Krygier’s most ambitious and innovative albums, and is the perfect introduction to a true musical pioneer.
AXEL KRYGIER-HOMBRE DE PIEDRA.