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

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Marble Sheep - Stone Marby – This album sees Marble Sheep back together in the studio for the first time since about 1993, and a finer example of heavy Japanese psychedelic music I could not name. There are bits of Hawkwind, Pink...  (2002) » Read more

Fromage - Ondine – Fromage. That's French for 'cheese.' This Fromage, however, are not French at all, but rather they are a Japanese five piece (g/k/d/b/v+flute) from the '80's. The keyword here is 80s. A very dated...  (1994) » Read more

Tyburn Tall - Tyburn Tall – From Speyer, Germany, Tyburn Tall were together from 1969 to 1975. During that time they became a well-respected live band, acting as opening act for name European groups such as Golden Earring, Space...  (1996) » Read more

Nevärlläjf - Klusterfloristen – Nevärlläjf is a young Swedish quintet of synths, guitars, bass, and drums. By young, I mean that these guys were in high school in 2005. Yet their music belies their age with its...  (2011) » Read more

Living Life - Mysterious Dream – Italian rock from '79 to the mid 80s was very different from the classic 70s period ('72 to '78.) Gone for the most part were the symphonic song structures, heavy romanticism and rich...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues