Ryan Palko ‘14
Jimi Hendrix released his second album, Axis Bold as Love, on December 1st 1967 in the UK. This is not only his second studio album but also his second album released in 1967. This album expands on the ground breaking techniques he pioneered in his first album. Many of the sounds that were created in Axis could only be manufactured in the studio, thus these songs were not performed live. As usual Hendrix rocked his blues guitar in combination with Dylanesque lyrics. The difference between Axis and Are You Experienced is a that the former displays better control of the fretboard. This enhanced control produces a mature sound. Axis has a totally different sound and feel compared to Are Your Experienced. The tone feels less choppy and more melodic; flowing off of the guitar and the lips of Hendrix like a plane gliding through air. A prime example of this is the song “Little Wing.” It is only a 2:29 song, but the first 30 seconds are a guitar intro. This intro defines Jimi. It is smooth and flows off the fretboard. This tone is not unique to “Little Wing,” rather it is present throughout the whole album.
Axis is my favorite Jimi Hendrix album. This was the first album of Hendrix that I bought. Hence, I am biased because it was the first Hendrix I had studied. He takes more risks in this album than in his previous. This can be attributed to more practice and experience developing himself as an artist. Axis’ layering of sound in takes Hendrix’s music to the next level. Axis is on a whole new level of creativity and exploring the sublime. He does this through channel panning and layering of sounds. This creates a new feeling for the audience and makes the music fun to rock out with.
Some hits on Axis are “Spanish Castle Magic,” “Little Wing,” “If 6 was 9,” “Castles Made of Sand,” “One Rainy Wish,” and “Bold as Love.” Not listed in this bunch but nevertheless one of the songs I really like is, “You Got Me Floatin.” After a psychedelic intro, the song transfers into a catchy rhythm. Hendrix jams with blues rock melody alongside great lyrics. Hendrix’s poetic lyrics give new insight into different topics. The lyrics combine with the master guitar skills making the words really pop out of the music. This combination of experimentation, guitar and lyrics effectively mesh in “You Got Me Floatin” to create a great track that is fun to hear. Overall I give this album a 39/40.