Taylor's Universe — Evidence
(Marvel of Beauty MOBCD024, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-12-07This latest offering by Robin Taylor’s band is a bit different than the previous two releases, perhaps more introspective and contemplative. The brooding and pensive fifteen minute opener “Buildings” builds up slowly over a relatively simple, but memorable repeating figure with periodic solo sax, guitar and keyboard embellishments, interrupted occasionally by alternating melodic changes and ambient interludes. The overall compositional approach on this tune reminds somewhat of Pekka Pohjola’s excellent 80s soundtrack work Everyman; I know that I have made comparisons between the two composers before, but I think it’s a fair one given the scope of their work and similar attack. “Red Afternoon” follows a similar approach, perhaps with more colorful melodies and heavy, intensive guitar and keyboard soloing throughout its twelve minute duration. If there is a ‘standout’ track on the album, this will certainly be it. There is a voice credit on this cut as well, but it must be buried under all the blistering guitars or heavily processed, because after numerous close listens, I’m clearly not hearing it. Matters not, though, as this band clearly has the instrumental power behind it to carry it forward without vocals and keep it interesting. The usual suspects are here, including the Secret Oyster contingent of Karsten Vogel (sax and bass clarinet) and Claus Bøhling (guitar solos par excellence), plus regular drummer Klaus Thrane. Thomas Thor Viderø Ulstrup provides some spectacular synthesizer solos, and Taylor does just about everything else (guitars, bass, flute, keyboards, etc.) as well as all the production, compositions and arrangements. Two additional lengthy instrumental workouts round out this excellent disc, which in general offers a bit more of a platform for fiery soloing than most of its predecessors.
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more