I'd played this album a couple of times and enjoyed it immensely – all before I read the cd slick and discovered that I'd seen (or heard) the maker – one Travis Baird – in a whole legion of Sydney-based bands. And not just any old bands. Bands released by Half A Cow! Like Kid Cornered and el Mopa. And the most wonderful girl group cover band, the Bonettes (ah, gush!). And this Travis guy is what they used to call in the trade, a triathlete-plus. That means he plays every instrument on the album, including the brass.
Therefore what we have here is the offerings of a multi-instrumentalist. Not content to give his all in main bands Founder and the Woods Themselves Travis has had time over the last four years to put together this 10 track cd of self-described 'folktronica' which combines a kaleidoscopic spread of instruments and found sounds borrowed from children's stories, vocal jazz records, Hungarian composers, police scanners and the arguments of strangers.
It's not all instrumental soundtrack music while you're stoned or washing up. There's some regular laidback indie-rock with cruisy acoustic guitars and well-hidden vocals. And a great "ba-da-ba-ba" pop song in 'Arequipa' which has the coolest lead guitar dangin' its way through its psychedelic peace march. Blackout Music does get incredibly good toward the end.
This cd really grew on me. It made me think: if Half A Cow was to release a record that used some samples from old records, what would be the situation regarding copyright ownership. Do we stick it to the man or try and track down the obscure Hungarian composer and pay them their 99 cents? Either way, Afxjm has made a damn good record and if you like your records a bit experimental and chorus-free then this is for you. There's lots to enjoy. Take a trip with Afxjim. Or is that AFXJIM. It's good soft and good loud. - ND