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Taal - Skymind CD (album) cover

SKYMIND

Taal

 

Eclectic Prog

4.12 | 106 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

avestin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Bienvenue au théâtre du rock-progressif

Welcome to the theater of Progressive Rock.

Creative, original, fun, complex, dynamic and beautiful. Those only begin to tell the story of this album, and yet can't even scratch the surface of an attempt to describe its brilliance.

Spell-binding. That is the effect the music Taal composes and plays has on me. It literally grabs my whole and undivided attention, holds it focused for the entire spectacle which is this album. It is pure bliss to hear the chant-like vocals in the title track Skymind as it ascends to an explosion continued by a frantic violin. It is ecstatic to enjoy the intricacies of their complex songs like The Egg-Shaped Moon. It is a delight to have the French folk sound "intrude" into Blind Child.

Being true to the spirit of past French rock-progressif, Taal's music, is an auditory exhibition; a manifest of talent, creativeness and originality; and a mélange of influences and sounds. Theirs is a truly forward progressing movement of musical search, a way to express themselves differently while using the known instruments and tools of the trade. They can play a hard edged rock theme and then switch to a light-headed tune and backwards seamlessly. They like to mingle those circus- or parade-like sounding themes, showing their happy and humoristic side, counterbalancing the seriousness of other components.

Part of the magic of the band, comes from its expanded lineup and its instrumentation. The use of saxophone, violin, viola, cello and flute alongside the conventional rock instruments adds a special flavour to their sound. It's not only the sound, but the way those instruments are used. Whether as giving a more weird or eccentric feeling, or serving as a lead role, the instruments are an imperative part of the TAALian sound. The drums as well have a very important role. Take for instance the opening of Skymind where electronic drums are used, and are then joined by the "real" drums. The combination works wonferfully, showing the aspiration of TAAL to mingle what may seem as too opposing routes. As an aside, Polisset the drummer is doing a wonderful job with the drums, giving exactly what each track needs. This can be said about all the musician here. It seems that each one gives exactly what is needed; not more and not less. There is no one major lead, no one overshadowing the others. Each instrument gets its fair share of play at the appropriate time and place.

The music itself can be of the most relaxing nature and then change to super energetic and crunchy-riff guitar lead rock; there are great guitar-violin interplays, fantastic discussions between those instruments. A carnival atmosphere in some of the songs is also evident, further accentuated by the vocal and their frisky style (Yellow Garden, Skymind). The carnivalesque and folkish elemets are also quite prominent, and the addition of a heavy guitar sound only serves to emphasize it and serves as a good contrast. This fantastic amalgam works wonderfully, and is part of what gives the band its uniqueness.

Taal manages to capture the essence of rock, carnival/circus, classic and folk (French and other) and bring it to life with their talent and vision; make it into a piece of art that is much more than its ingredients - this synergy of elements, is the beauty and magic of music. This is a band not afraid to experiment and be adventurous; but not in the sense that is found in avant-rock bands, but in the sense of looking for ways to expand their sound into new territories and yet keep it clearly TAALesque. They bring not a new wind of change to the music scene; they are a hurricane of talent. I'd compare their novelty and creativeness to that heard on Sleepytime Gorilla Museum's Of Natural History. Not only is it good; it is novel, relies on the past to create something new and is not afraid to go out there and try something new.

If I was in a band, I would wish to make music of their style and level.

What more to ask from a band? Another one like this.

4.5 stars in PA scale

avestin | 4/5 |

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