Ax was the solo project of onetime Skullflower bassist Anthony DiFranco, who left the crushingly loud, psychedelic/industrial noisemakers in 1993 to pursue an even more experimental direction. DiFranco had been making home recordings since his teen years, and prior to joining Skullflower, he'd been releasing material (on cassette only) under the aliases Ethnic Acid and JFK, starting in 1987. DiFranco's earliest appearances with Skullflower also came under the JFK name, with which he filled in on guitar, bass, or drums as needed. Personnel shifts led to DiFranco being pressed into service as the group's official bassist, beginning with 1992's IIIrd Gatekeeper. After a couple more albums, DiFranco left in 1993 to return to solo work, signing with the indie label Freek under the Ax moniker (he also played briefly with Skullflower's sister band Ramleh). In general, Ax was a rumbling, bass-heavy pile of sludge indebted to industrial electronics, Krautrock, and heavy psychedelia. DiFranco's first album as Ax was 1994's Nova Feedback, which gathered home recordings dating from 1988 up to the present day. Ax II followed in 1995, and Astronomy appeared in 1997. Following the latter, DiFranco retired the Ax name to team up with Kevin Laska as Novatron, which continued on in a similar musical vein with its 1999 debut New Rising Sun.