Taylor's Free Universe — Family Shot
(Marvel of Beauty MOBCD 013 , 2005, CD)
Taylor's Universe with Karsten Vogel — Oyster's Apprentice
(Marvel of Beauty MOBCD014, 2005, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01
The very prolific guitarist Robin Taylor hits us with new offerings from two of his ensembles. Taylor’s Free Universe is Taylor’s improv outfit, featuring Pierre Tassone on processed violin and percussion; Kim Menzer on clarinet, trombone, and strange flute; Peter Friss Nielsen on bass; and Lars Juul on drums. This is more rock-based improvisation than jazz, with Taylor’s soundscapes and Tassone’s violin parts often providing atmosphere. I’m not an expert on improv or an ideologue; for me, the proof is in how much I enjoy the results, capricious as that may be. Family Shot is such an experience; the musicians seem greatly in tune with each other and play off each other, and while each seems more than capable of ripping out virtuoso solos they rein it in to maintain a mutually sympathetic environment in which to spontaneously compose. Or so it seems to me, anyway. It almost reminds me of parts of Henry Cow’s Unrest, a comparison for which I suspect I’ve earned a snotty remark or two. Recommended, anyway.
Taylor’s Universe is a more typical jazz fusion ensemble, and features Karsten Vogel of Secret Oyster and Burnin’ Red Ivanhoe on saxophones and bass clarinet. Rounding out the line-up are Jon Hemmersam on guitar and Variax, Kalle Mathiesen, and Rasmus Grosell on drums, and Louise Nipper on vocals. The compositions span over thirty years although this is a fresh recording. This is highly composed music, with each track containing key melodic motives that are explored in ensemble fashion. “Vue (Time Bolero)” is an interesting building track strangely reminiscent of Earth and Fire’s “Song for the Marching Children.” With a mix of laid-back cooler material and more bold, intense fare, Oyster’s Apprentice is a pretty solid forty-five minutes showing another facet of Taylor’s artistry.
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more