Exposé Online banner

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

by Peter Thelen, 2015-03-20:

From Scratch Cover art 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.

by Henry Schneider, 2015-05-30:

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.


Filed under: New releases , 2015 releases

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

More info

Latest news

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Agitation Free - Fragments – [Musique Intemporelle edition from 1995] Agitation Free are one of Germany's finest space rock groups, an outfit that launched the careers of many respected musicians like Michael Hoenig, Lutz...  (1996) » Read more

House of Not - The Walkabout Parts 1 & 2 – The brainchild of Brian Erikson (vocals and lyrics), House of Not appears to be some sort of concept project, with Lou Roppoli and Ken O’Gorman providing guitars and a host of guests on other...  (2006) » Read more

Here and Now - Give and Take – Here and Now are very heavily patterned in the mold of Radio Gnome era Gong, complete with silly vocals, but luckily they also borrow from Gong’s best features, with some great guitar solos over...  (2002) » Read more

Everon - Paradoxes – Getting me to review an SI release is somewhat analogous to trying to get Rolling Stone to review a Zamla Mammaz Manna album. Both would have their fair share of negative comments. I am really...  (1994) » Read more

Smashpalace - Smashpalace – Smashpalace is a four-piece of guitars, bass, and drums, with a dedicated singer, hailing from Racine, Wisconsin. Their style is accessible, featuring savvy compositions, a punchy guitar driven style...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues