"MA'AN" is the name of singer/songwriter, composer and music producer Axel Wolph's inner voice and ancient soul - and now the title of his brand-new and sixth solo longplayer featuring eleven self-performed adult alternative pop rock songs, produced together with London-based music producer Alex Beitzke (James Arthur, Florence & The Machine, Jamiroquai et al) at Axel's The Green Meadow Road Studio in Aschach at the River Danube, Austria/Europe.
During a seven-years-lasting journey to his true, painless self, guided by one of his spiritual teachers, Axel found a way to live and deal with his inherited and recurring depressions and met his inner voice and being "MA'AN" for the first time. This may sound spooky and strange, but it's actually "nothing but natural", says the 38 years old father of three sons, now after 16 years of living in metropolises such as Vienna and Los Angeles, settled in the small village of Aschach at the River Danube, a place in Austria/Europe where he spent his childhood.
His new solo work - where he plays all the instruments by himself (except cello, see credits) - consists of eleven self-reflective, open-hearted, encouraging, laid-back, psychedelic, philosophical and captivating tunes about his path ending up in more "LVOE" and "JYO" (love & joy, naturally, Axel loves to misspell words to provide them more attention...) in his life as a man, a father, a partner, a friend, a passionate motorcyclist, a silence-teacher-in-training, a Buddhist and a songs and music creating artist.
Axel's songwriting stands for simple, catchy, Beatles/Lennon-influenced (see quote from an interview for NOW! magazine a couple of years ago: "My mother couldn't nurse me, so my father played me some Beatles tracks to come down as a little baby boy...") harmonies and melodies, paired with sometimes intimate, sometimes cinematic sound. His lyrics are immediate, direct and very honest reflections on life, existence and about his experiences as a human being at his prime-age.
SONG BY SONG NOTES
The opening song "You Have Come So Far" is a Buddhist's mantra-like, musical arrival. An ode to existence and continuity - a sounding moment of gratitude and pride, of JYO, LVOE and confidence: the fact that you are here now is a result of your path, so far. "You are here, because you were there, you can be there, 'cause you are here, now.", says Axel. We do need these moments of conscious being - especially in a world that is based on thought, emotion and lots of noise.
In "Sneakers", track two, an anthem-like, confident and motivating song about standing up after falling down - about light after the dark - Axel plays with the metaphor "When you're trying to run with your worn out sneakers on...". "So, move on!"
"Getting Closer" is another "arrival" song. "Even blind men find the peak." sings Axel. Performed on an almost broken, dusty, vintage classical guitar which he found in the 1814 built barn of his remodelled countryhouse, the place where his new studio is now set up. "I simply had to use this old guitar - the fact that I found it was like a release to her - it reminded me of my own path. We are soulmates, in a way...", the long-white-haired multi-instumentalist reports. "So, go for what you want and forget about what you don't, today!"
"Honesty" is propably the best example for Axel's Beatles infuences on this new longplayer. Very intimate until it rises into a melodic and cinamatic, almost Radiohead-like instrumental part...music for listeners - people who are ready to follow the artist on his mission. "Music can be a trip - without the influence of illegal substances..." Axel admits.
"Riding a motorcycle along the River Danube in the sun and finally having a bonfire romance with my wife - the most beautiful woman on this planet - at least to me." Axel tells about "Moon Watching" a dreamy, mellow and very romantic song about his LVOE for his life partner and mother of his three sons, Athena. Just like a movie in the head of the passionate motorcyclist - colored in typical California sunset lights...
"Battle Alone", track number seven on "MA'AN", will be the third single to be released this summer (exact release date t.b.a.). "No battle lasts forever, one day you'll defeat, no struggle lasts forever, as long as you know, you battle alone." The song deals with the words of a wise Buddhist, Axel heard a couple of years ago in a Buddhist monastery which he visits almost every year: "Everyone you meet in your life is fighting his/her own battle - so you better be kind."
The slow waltz alternative pop song "Hasty Battles" is an audible piece of gratitude for Axel's wife Athena and their partnership, her LVOE, patience, surrender, comfort, confidence and endurance. The lyrics of the song are self-explanatory: "How could we know, so long ago, now, almost forgotten, planted seed means a lot to raise in the garden. Finally you and me. peacefully unfolded, sitting here under trees with our hands folded and still, we breathe, silent and released from so many hasty battles, wrangles and fuming rattles..."
During the final process of the album production Axel's wife got to know that her father had died - after about thirty years without communication between daughter and father. It was his choice to live like that - not caring for his four children, but that's a different story. Anyways, Axel immediately sat down to write a song for her - focussing on her strength and LVOE. "In her own world, healed from her father`s scars...in her own world, brighter than a shooting star, she's come so far..." Another song that stands for surviving life's battles and challanges and finding your own personal peaks.
The second to last tune "This & That" was written in about 20 minutes. "Who packs the horses we don't ride? Who stacks the junk on the other side?" Well, nobody knows. "I still can't really say what this liitle tune is all about? It just happened. And I liked it.", Axel says.
The final song of "MA'AN" will be the fourth single of the album. "It's a hymn", Axel claims. An ode to his wife, their life together and as individuals in a mad world. "And I love to hug you under our bed, while the world outside keeps going mad" is one of the key lines of this beautiful adult alternative pop song's lyrics.
Please enjoy and if you like it, please share it with your world!
LVOE & JYO
Axel & his team
Produced and recorded by Alex Beitzke & Axel Wolph at The Green Meadow Road Studio, Aschach at the River Danube.
Written & performed by Axel Wolph. Cello performed by Florian Eggner. Drums ("Heat Retreat") performed by Mario Lackner.
Mixed by Alex Beitzke at Dean Street Studios, London. Tracks 7,9 & 10 published by Earmotion Audio Creation GmbH, Munich/New York City. Mastered by Martin Scheer at Scheer Audio Mastering Lab, Willhemsburg.
Cover photo by Mischa Nawrata, www.nawrata.com
© United Indies 2016
Cover photo by Mischa Nawrata