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Artist: Maxel Toft
Length: 7 tracks 23:13
Maxel Toft has a problem with the machinery of the music industry. He shys away from the band name, album name, album art thing that goes along with recording music. 
Fiercely independent. Let's just independent. Maxel doesn't appear to be fierce about anything. 

What about the name? Originally Maxel wanted to release his music anonymously, but that wasn't very practical (It has been done by the Residents), so "Maxel Toft" was created for separation of art and life. 

Is he just being paranoid, afraid that he isn't good enough? He should not be. His music is excellent. 
Enigmatic, loner minimalist and interesting. 

35 is part of the Presidential Series that began as a home recording project back in 1999. Starting with Clinton and continuing in reverse order, all the recordings are named and numbered according to past Presidents. How did he decide to name your releases after presidents? Maxel got the idea for the series when he was looking at a coin and thinking about how we put presidents on our money and that it might be interesting to have an album for each president. Beside that, it went along with the anonymous theme. 

No, the songs are not about the presidents named.  This seven track CD is quite diverse musically and lyrically, but it's biggest asset is it's child-like simplicity. Stripped back musically, we are given a chance to hear what is being said.  There is always more going on than first meets the ear. "Abandoned" describes a derelict house, overgrown and untouched. Lyrically the resolution is wonderful: "throw a rock and run."  "The Thaw" is wistful is inspired by the first Spring snow meltings. "Pieces" is a humorous look at putting ourselves together. "we put our pieces where they shouldn't go." Repeated listenings peel back more and more meanings to all the songs. 

Maxel whose musical inspiration is Pete Seeger, usually plays all the instruments, but occasionally is aided by a drummer or back up singer. He is a wonderful banjo player. Featuring that instrument, "Canyon," is a relaxed round perfect to close the precedings.

Housed in a plastic sandwich bag,the insert has a picture of the 35th president and song info.
Agreed, it is a bit gimmicky, but Maxel Toft has found a way to  release his unique music in an industry that tends to eat its young.

Bob Felberg


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