Axel Mansoor says that his current mission is to bring back the glory of the acoustic guitar in the college music scene. He continues:“Electro and all its variants are seemingly everywhere, but I want to prove that the acoustic guitar/analog music is not dead!”
Surprise statement number one! Considering Axel’s older brother is Producer/Guitarist Misha Mansoor, of the famed heavy-metal band “Periphery.”
“I’m entirely self-taught and know virtually no music theory, not even basic chord names.” Surprise statement number two! Considering Axel’s dexterity and absolute originality when playing the six-stringed instrument.
“I was invited to play at the GreenRoots Showcase in L.A., where Angel Taylor/Bruno Mars/David Ryan Harris have played, and am now gigging around LA.” No surprise at all! Considering the innate quality and depth of talent that the artist, Axel Mansoor has to offer.
There are a very limited number of pop albums out there that are extremely creative and highly intelligent, with miles and miles of musical depth and thought-provoking lyrics. Axel Mansoor’s debut Ep, “The Inside Voices,” is one of those albums.
Substance, depth, enjoyability, excellent production, and timeless quality, this album contains all of these, to an extreme level. Building upon his natural, inbred talents, that came blasting through on this spectacular debut, Mansoor’s soulful blend of pop, R&B, and even occasional New Age elements on some of the songs, come shining through.
I can remember a collection of alternative artists that I adored towards the end of the grunge era during the mid-nineties and then the fads that came along for the next few years which I also enjoyed for a period of time, but later on, became embarrassed at hearing, as I matured. Mansoor’s music however gives me the sensation that he will not be one of those passing fads.
His music has such a mature and highly fluid quality that it makes all of his songs sound as if they have always existed through the passing years, and will continue to do so in future. An uncanny quality, for a relatively ‘new kid on the block’, whose music I have never heard before!
Moreover something marvelous occurred as I gave the tracks more and more play. All of them grabbed me. In each track there was more I could hear on each listen. Specifically in the absolute standout track, “The Remedy,” where the vocal or simple musical orchestrations and the odd percussion are nothing short of impressive. As the music unfolds, you discover that everything plays supporting roles for Mansoor’s voice, and justifiably so. The clarity, power and soul of his voice, is comfortable in either high or low range and is always full of intense sincerity, and should be the showcase, as it always is.
Furthermore, I came to realize, on the umpteenth playing of “Work And Play” and “An Apology” that everything else underneath is also exquisitely perfected. If over and above being just an average listener, you’re also a musician, you will really appreciate the rhythm structures, or non-formal chord progressions that Mansoor so often uses in his songs. And it all belongs, it always adds and never detracts. The music production is beautifully sparse and spaciously airy, yet I’m not sure, even after another series of plays, if I won’t hear something new in the mix.
From the minimalist acoustic pieces to the fully orchestrated reprise of the “The Remedy,” Axel Mansoor’s power to grab and submerse you with pure emotion remains. Every listening brings more depth, more interest, and more feeling. “The Inside Voices” is not to be dismissed on one hearing.
If that is not enough to fill your creative cup, we also recently discovered Axel Mansoor under another vest, on his Youtube channel. Here Axel does a mashup version of The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby in the style of Andy McKee, who is considered one of the world’s finest acoustic guitar soloists. A tall task, but Axel comes shining through once again. Thanks to those warm vocal chords that are not the least distracted by the unconventional guitar-playing technique.
Finally, I have always been convinced, that anybody who can write their own music and make it sound this good is worth listening to. Axel Mansoor is refreshingly different from the classic pop sound, and even from the classic rock style. His personal style is unique, but he does not sacrifice music for originality. Most artists who desperately try to sound different, only succeed in sounding terrible.
This is not the case with Axel Mansoor. Grab his Ep “The Inside Voices.” You may be surprised by his class and style.
Produced/Mixed/Mastered by David Burris and Daniel Weidlein at Manifest Music Productions in Santa Monica, CA and Little Meadow Studios in Los Angeles, CA. The recording of the album was funded by Kickstarter.