Taal — Skymind
(Musea FGBG 4483.AR, 2003, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2003-12-01I know it may seem like a glamorous life to be a music critic, getting all those free CDs, getting into shows for free, hobnobbing with the stars. But I assure you, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Most of the CDs you get are things you’d rather not listen to, but you buckle down and sacrifice for the readers, trying to separate the gems from the dirt and provide some useful knowledge. Then something like this comes along and makes it all seem worthwhile. It only took a couple of minutes into the first track to hook me – there’s such a marvelous combination of extremes, such a unique combination of disparate things I enjoy, that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. Parts of it resemble what 5uu’s might sound like if they recruited a guitarist from a metal band; other parts remind me of Procol Harum’s Grand Hotel seen through a warped lens; sometimes it’s like Weill on acid. In general, Taal is the schizophrenic bastard child of a rock band and a chamber orchestra, unwilling to sacrifice the extremes at either of the spectrum in any sort of compromise. But then again, “schizophrenic” implies that the different personalities take turns at the helm, and one of the most intriguing things about Taal is that the string quartet and the winds are fully integrated into even the heavier moments rather than being just the quiet part of a loud-quiet dichotomy.
Related artist(s): Taal
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more