The latest from German Kosmiche guitar veteran Ax Genrich is a 6 track, 70 minute set titled In A World Of Dinosaurs. In addition to Ax on guitar, banjo and vocals we have the rhythm section that has been on his last couple albums – Mario Fadani on bass, upright bass and tuba, and Steff Bollack on drums.
In a nutshell, this is an album for lovers of imaginatively exploratory Kosmiche Rock guitar. The music covers the gamut from Hard Psych Rock and Space Rock, with Prog and Jazz influences, but this is also an outstanding all around ROCK album, chock full of varied rhythmic and compositional gymnastics, and all manner of thematic twists and turns.
The title track features Hard Psychedelic rock that is stoned, spaced out, and includes lots of killer guitar. We’ve got classic Ax guitar that recalls his Guru Guru days, but he also takes off into space, creating soaring waves of Psychedelic soundscapes and pure cosmic ooze. Ax’s vocals muse on the days of the dinosaurs 200 million years ago, noting their many qualities (and even gives a mention to their bad breath). On Elektro Bordell the guitar goes into a deep space trippy, dreamy exploration against an evolving rhythmic theme, starting off with a tribal rocking pulse, going off into a fierce drum solo and a frenzied Jazz-Rock finale. The Sound Of No Return is a frantic and schizophrenic roller coaster ride that zig zags between heavy Psych rock with monster guitar, ass kicking old time Rock ‘n’ Roll, Jazz tinged Hard Rock, Space Rock ‘n’ Roll, plus oodles of rhythmic acrobatics and cool and strange effects. I love the interplay between Ax’s guitar and guest Roland Schaeffer’s Jazz Rocking nadaswaram (an Indian wind instrument) on the 16 minute jam rocking The Nomad. (Schaeffer was a later member of Guru Guru.) Livin’ in Germany is a heavy Psych rocking song with Ax cranking out a banquet of freakouts against a funky Jazz-Rock rhythmic pulse. And guest vocalist Matz Kraus sounds like he could be the singer in a Captain Beefheart tribute band. Finally, I first heard Zaragoza on Ax’s 2011 released live set A Trip To Paradise, and here we have it titled Zaragoza /On Route to Spain. It starts off whimsically atmospheric, and I like the steadily tribal drumming against the trippy, spacey guitar that is simultaneously atmospheric, funky and cosmic Bluesy as Ax playfully shares a parade of ideas. Roland Schaeffer is back on saxophone and Guru Guru founding member Mani Neumeier guests on drums during the later On Route to Spain section, which features smooth and sassy Psychedelic Jazz with swingin’ sax and guitar that is both jazzy and stoned.
In summary, In A World Of Dinosaurs ranks among the best guitar albums I’ve heard this year. It warms my heart to hear old masters like Ax still creating music that draws on the inspirations of the past, but doing so in imaginative and, dare I say, inventive ways. But don’t think this is all non-stop guitar flash. Ax incorporates his guitar work into the larger body of music, which is reliant on solid compositions and arrangements and the crack musicians who accompany him. Check it out.
Order the CD from Ax Genrich for 15 Euros + shipping. Email Ax at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz