Quality: 3.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.25 out of 5
David Axelrod continued his jazz-inflected, William Blake inspired instrumental psychedelic ramblings with with second solo album. As usual, Axelrod's compositional and arranging skills are quite enviable. If nothing else, there's an extremely professional hand at work behind these recordings. Alas, it's not quite as freaky as the albums chronologically surrounding it, but it's still a pretty solid listen.
Once again, Axelrod coaxes some funky, sample-worthy performances out of the rhythm section. In general, the sound here is pretty close to the previous year's Song Of Innocence. On this one, the melodies are a touch darker, perhaps the 'experience' at work, and there is even more orchestral presence. Keep in mind that this probably fits the 'psychedelic lounge music' bill to an even greater degree than Axelrod's other late-60's recordings.
With no slacking off in the arranging department, we've got to look at the melodies. I have to admit that these don't do it for me quite as much as what we heard on the previous album. The sound here is a little more crisp, but I kind of enjoyed the slightly murky sound that Axelrod achieved on the last album. Songs Of Experience is rear-loaded, with the best compositions showing up at the end. "The Human Abstract," "The Fly," and "The Divine Image" do the best job of creating the strangely phased out of the mainstream sound that I consider Axelrod's strong suit. Opening track "The Poison Tree" mixes a enjoyable typical Axelrod arrangement with a touch of solo violin.
This is still part of Axelrod's prime, and should be considered essential listening for anyone wanting to enter his sound sphere. Still, I'd go for Song Of Innocence or the next year's Earth Rot first, and come here if you feel yourself hankering for more.
David Axelrod - 1969 - Songs Of Experience