Exposé Online banner

Taylor's Universe — Across the Universe: An Introduction to Taylor's Universe
(Marvel of Beauty , 2015, CD)

by Henry Schneider, 2016-01-25:

Across the Universe: An Introduction to Taylor's Universe Cover art

Robin Taylor has quite the body of work. Each new album builds on his previous work and adds new elements. And that brings us to the new Taylor’s Universe album, Across the Universe. Rather than compose and record another album of new music, Robin decided to release a selection of what he considers highlights from the Taylor’s Universe catalog, sampling from Kind of Red (2012), Artificial Joy (2009), and Return to Whatever (2009). Across the Universe is not what we have come to think of as a greatest hits release. Instead he recorded altered versions of seven tracks; rearranging, re-recording, remixing, or re-mastering the music. Even though Robin plays most of the instruments (guitar, keyboards, bass, percussion, etc.) the other musicians are basically the same as who played on Kind of Red, but different from the other two albums. Therefore, I am guessing the major alterations were made to the tracks from 2009. The timings between the original tracks and Across the Universe are all different, usually by a handful of seconds, but on “Fame” and “Haunted Yellow House” the differences are minutes. I am only familiar with Kind of Red, so I cannot comment on the musical differences from the other albums. I really cannot tell the difference on “Salon Bleu,” so this song may just be re-mastered. “Firestone” is definitely a remix as the saxophone heard at the beginning is now absent. And “Tortugas” sounds like the bass has been emphasized. So for the Robin Taylor purist you may not be interested in Across the Universe. But for someone unfamiliar with his work, Across the Universe is a great place to start. The music is outstanding.


by Peter Thelen, 2016-01-25:

Interesting concept here. Across The Universe is billed as “An introduction to Taylor’s Universe,” and I would agree that for a band with fourteen full length releases to date, a best-of compilation would be a good thing for listeners just tuning in now. But that’s not what this is, at least not the way it’s usually done. Instead, Robin Taylor and the current version of TU decided to, for whatever reason, re-record seven pieces that originally appeared on the albums Artificial Joy (2009), Return to Whatever (2009), and Kind of Red (2012). The latter album, from which “Salon Bleu,” “Tortugas,” and “Firestone” were culled, was originally recorded with a lean crew of only three instrumentalists, an excellent album for certain, but nonethelss it benefits from the six-piece lineup featured here and some changes in the original arrangements. “Days Run Like Horses,” originally featured on Artificial Joy seems more fluid, experimental and ‘live’ here in its current version. “Fame,” taken from the same album, trades some of its initial heaviness for a more reserved approach ramping up, arriving at that point later in the piece, and trimming several minutes off the near-ten minute original. Several of the same players are featured in this special lineup: drummer Klaus Thrane, saxophonist Jakob Mygind and (of course) Taylor were on the original version, but two new guitarists John Sund and Frank Carvalho (from Etcetera) feature here, as well as synth player Thomas Thor Viderø Ulstrup, who has been with the band on recent releases Evidence and From Scratch. The final two cuts are “Haunted Yellow House,” in a more animated and longer arrangement, and “Mooncake” – both from Return to Whatever. For one who’s never experienced Taylor’s Universe before, this is definitely a great introduction, but for those who have the three original releases, don’t miss out on these excellent alternate arrangements.


Filed under: New releases , 2015 releases

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

More info

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mellow Candle - Swaddling Songs – I think this one may have been repressed again, since I have seen many copies poke their heads out recently. This album in my opinion is the pinnacle of English progressive folk a la The Trees,...  (1993) » Read more

Larry Kucharz - Blue Drawings and Text – Kucharz' latest work is split between seven softer flowing ambient pieces composed or reworked in 2007, most somewhat reminiscent of the work on some of his earlier 'Electrochoral' and...  (2008) » Read more

Brand X - The X-Files: A 20 Year Retrospective – The first four Brand X albums set a standard for fusion that still exists more than 20 years later. Unfortunately many of the albums that followed didn’t measure up to the band’s...  (2000) » Read more

Curved Air - Live at the BBC – Something I hear often regarding Curved Air is complaints about the band's lack of focus and the unevenness of many of their studio recordings. This may be due to the fact that the only recordings...  (1997) » Read more

Pineapple Thief - Variations on a Dream – Pineapple Thief hasn’t changed much since 137, and that’s a good thing. A quartet of guitar / keys / bass / drums, the songs are all written by Bruce Soord, who also sings and plays...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues