Exposé Online banner

Taylor's Universe — From Scratch
(Marvel of Beauty MOBCD 025, 2015, CD)

by Henry Schneider, 2015-05-30:

From Scratch Cover art

Robin Taylor is quite a prolific Danish guitarist, recording and performing both as a solo artist and also leader of Taylor’s Universe since the mid 80s. Each new release contains new compositions bringing some familiarity with things past and surprises of new things to come. For this outing, From Scratch, the Universe is Robin (electric and bass guitars, keyboards, percussion, etc.), Karsten Vogel (sax and bass clarinet), Claus Bøhling (electric guitar), Thomas Thor Viderøulstrup (miniMoog), and Klaus Thrane (drums). Guests include Finn Olafsson (electric guitar), Jakob Mygind (sax), Carsten Sindvald (sax), and the voices of Jytte Lindberg, Louise Nipper, and Jan Fischer. There is something for everyone here from the melodic to the avant-garde. The opening track “Other Meetings” is dominated by organ and very polished electric guitar. This is a smooth progressive rock tune going through many changes and mood shifts. The second track “Beta X” starts as an amorphous dissonant and eerie soundscape mixed with laughter samples than morphs back and forth between melodic sax and analog electronics with hints of Besombes and Rizet. “Balcony People” takes the use of voices even further and then launches into some blazing guitar solos and jazz-fusion. The nine-minute “Interrail” starts off cold and sterile with wordless female singing over Vogel’s heavy dark alto sax. Then suddenly at the mid-point there is an abrupt shift. If you were not paying close attention, you would swear that a new song had started. The beautiful “Laura’s Lullaby” showcases Vogel’s mastery of the soprano sax accompanied by Taylor’s piano chops and segues nicely into “Für Louise” with Sinvald’s sinister baritone sax. Again, about the mid-point the music kicks into high gear with melodic piano, excellent guitar work, and Mygind’s soprano sax. Taylor saved the best track for last “Autumn River,” an ambient flowing masterpiece of Taylor's keyboards, EBowed guitar loops, and Bøhling’s soaring electric guitar flights of fancy. Overall quite an excellent album and a pleasure to enjoy.


by Peter Thelen, 2015-03-20:

Each new release by Taylor’s Universe brings some familiarity and some surprises, and so it is with their latest release From Scratch. The cast is familiar, with Robin Taylor handling bass guitar, keyboards, vocorder, percussion, and electric guitar on a few tracks, with Karsten Vogel on saxes and bass clarinet, Claus Bøhling on electric guitar, Klaus Thrane on drums, and Thomas Ulstrup on Minimoog. Add to that some extra sax players on one cut, several vocalists where needed, including engineer Louise Nipper. Overall, the style this time is heavier and darker, with a more direct attack; there are more wordless vocals, subtle spoken voice loops and edits, all epitomized by the album’s centerpiece, the nine-minute “Interrail,” a haunting piece that will get stuck in the listener’s head for days. The interesting use of vocorder, tapes and looped voices on “Beta X” makes it unique in comparison to almost anything in the band’s repertoire to date. The beautiful and melodic “Laura’s Lullaby” is a moving showcase for Vogel’s sax soloing with subtle backing voices that at its conclusion proceeds directly into the powerful instrumental anthem “Für Louise” with some rocking guitar by guest Finn Olafsson. “Balcony People” makes further use of low-level spoken voice samples whole the piece slowly grows out of them until it assumes its form as a rocking showcase for conversations between effected guitars and Minimoog. Perhaps the most intense piece is the seven-minute closer “Autumn River,” where soaring guitars float high above a backdrop of flowing loops and dreamy textures. Overall, From Scratch is a very surprising change in trajectory for Taylor’s Universe.

Filed under: New releases , 2015 releases

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

More info

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Garden Wall - Principium – Garden Wall are an Italian neo-prog four-piece who have recently released this, their first album. If the name of the band sounds familiar to you, recall Garden Wall was one of the names Genesis...  (1994) » Read more

Tim Motzer + Markus Reuter - Descending – Guitarist Tim Motzer and touch guitarist Markus Reuter establish an instant atmospheric rapport on their first joint effort together. The first song, “1200 Sundays,” is beautiful and sounds...  (2010) » Read more

Barrock - Oxian – Two things should immediately give this one away: (1) it's on the SI (Sans Identity) label; and (2) the cover art featuring a mighty sea serpent, a large and fantastic castle, and a wizard king...  (1995) » Read more

Headless Household - Inside / Outside USA – A quartet from Santa Barbara, CA, Headless Household have been together for over a decade, and released their first, self titled, album in 1987. Inside / Outside USA finds them teeming up with several...  (1995) » Read more

Banda Elástica - Catálogo de Tiraderos – Banda Elástica seem to have been working largely in a genre of their own making down in Mexico; only the short-lived Nazca was anywhere close to what this band was doing. I say "was"...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues