Exposé Online banner

T.A.O. — Abnormal Observations
(Unicorn Digital UNCR-5034, 2006, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2007-03-01

Abnormal Observations Cover art

Ostensibly once a metal band, the number of unusual sonic embellishments and trickier-than-usual rhythms make T.A.O.’s music a lot more interesting than what that label might typically signify. Take for example, the liberal use of acoustic piano and vibraphone that permeates many of these songs, along with synths employed on every level and the brilliant rhythms forged by bass, drums, and the chugga-chugga guitars, plus plenty of moments where winding the power level down results in some tasty jazz, deep mood, and classical bits. Unfortunately, their weak card is the singing of guitarist Adam Jurewicz; as impressive as the seven-minute opener “Shruti” is, the horribly uneven vocal section near the end turns it from promising to self-destructing. Even on the remaining tracks, his singing never rises much above tolerable – this band definitely could use a dedicated lead singer. Jurewicz’ guitar playing is far more impressive, driving some urgent staccato rhythms and whipping out some smoking solos. Ever hear a couple Polish guys rapping in English over a sort of Steely Dan-like backing track? That’s what I thought – and some of what the listener is treated to on “Rhythm of Silence.” The rap part does sound pretty goofy, although the music on this cut is completely outside the metal realm, and perhaps some of the most impressive on the disk. In fact from that point forward, the disc becomes a much more varied entity, and all the stronger for it. Overall, excepting the vocals, this is a very impressive debut.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): T.A.O.

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cream - Disraeli Gears - Deluxe Edition – What comes to mind when you think of psychedelic blues rock? For me, it’s Cream. They were the most important UK rock band out of the 60s besides the Beatles and the Stones. Eric Clapton, Jack...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues