Exposé Online banner

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

Family Shot Cover artOyster's Apprentice Cover art

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.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Robin Taylor, Karsten Vogel, Taylor's Universe / Taylor's Free Universe

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music festival world, and music festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
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

2020-01-21
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


Previously in Exposé...

Hoenig / Göttsching - Early Water – It's truly amazing what people can pull out of the vaults that wasn't originally released in the first place. This collaboration between Ashra's Manuel Göttsching and Agitation Free's Michael Hoenig...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues