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Taal - Skymind CD (album) cover

SKYMIND

Taal

 

Eclectic Prog

4.08 | 133 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The sophomore Taal release, after their stunning opening salvo Mister Green, is even more accomplished, forging new musical adventures with a rarely attempted dual drum attack (Hawkwind, KC, Allman Brothers) that is even more thumpingly percussive than ever and sharpening those precious Taal identities even further with some serious string sections. "Skymind" is a devastating journey, brutally plowing where no man has dared before, polyrhythm central with Anthony Gabard's schizoid guitar clearing the path, remindful of almost where the previous album ended in abject fury. "Yellow Garden" is more contrast laden, a roller coaster ride with early playful Zappaisms colliding head on with the harsh rhythm, bashing, smashing and ultimately trashing the arrangement pitilessly, some hysterical mid-song atmospherics verging on the paranoid and a carnival gypsy violin just to confuse the masses. An obligatory return to more jazz rock extremities flavors "Blind Child", with some wonderful dissonant passages, fueled by the now well embedded string section, forging some turbulent interludes, a sudden very French cabaret torch song with mandolin "accompagnement" and an odd circus fanfare exit. "The Purple Queen's Lips" is a stunning achievement, incorporating multiple moods, from the utterly heavy to the broodingly groovy, bestially prodded along by the pulsating rhythm. These guys do not turn on a dime but rather on a nickel, bold as lightning and swift as the wind. At times the urgency is almost like a zeuhl tornado and then out of the blue, a floating passage keeps the mood schizophrenic until the steam slowly rises beyond the boiling point. A tempestuous lead violin is twined with some weighty chugging axe work, until the valiant Gabard unleashes a sulfuric solo that leaves no prisoners in its wake. The highlight track, "The Egg-Shaped Moon" harkens back to the debut's similarly titled finale "Super Flat Moon", suggesting a different take on the same KC territory but with restrained fury this time, some efficient vocals making this almost occasionally linear, soft passages getting comfortable until the rhythm section decides to spice up the proceedings and usher in some power contrasts. Some pastoral flute keep things comfortably numb, gently escorting the piece to a soft landing. Brilliant! The disc ending epic, the 13+ minute "Stratus" (no, not the Billy Cobham classic) enlists some early atmospherics before dive bombing into some dizzying musical spaces, verging on speed-space with eerie synthesizers blazing amid shredding guitars, waltzing violins, Arabian percussion, Wettonian basscraft and some totally spell binding aural sonics. Anthony Gabard displays some incredible chops, lacerating his strings viciously with total disregard for any collateral damage. The carnival Planet Gong kookiness takes a vaudevillian bow just when you least expect it. Ah! The French, always throw in some new twists just like true gourmets. It becomes evident that Taal really enjoy finishing off albums with some stellar music and this piece is no exception. A maghrebian theme puts this stud to rest! Taal is one of the bands to watch. Part 3 just maybe completely awesome, I shudder at the thought. 5 étaals!
tszirmay | 5/5 |

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