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Taal - Skymind CD (album) cover

SKYMIND

Taal

 

Eclectic Prog

4.08 | 133 ratings

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Schizoid Man
5 stars "Skymind" is the second album from French Art Rock band Taal. To my ears it is a 5 star effort. The music is complex, intriguing, harmonically challenging and original yet accessible. Not an easy feat to accomplish.

Don't look for a strong vocal presence. There is no front man like Peter Gabriel or Steve Wilson. However, the vocals that are present fit the pieces perfectly.

To get a feel of what this band is capable of I suggest listening to the tracks Skymind and/or The Egg-Shaped Moon and/or Stratus.

1. Skymind (9:53) Starting off with ominous multiple/overlapping melody and riff playing the song progresses through various textures. I have not heard a band play so well with so many different musical ideas going on at the same time in a long while. It is a remarkable piece.

2. Yellow Garden (7:37) Starting with some strong metal riffing which segues into a bit of a gypsy/pub sing- along which then transforms into some very nice lead guitar playing. The song continues to evolve through significant compositional fluctuations and rhythmic changes.

3. Blind Child (6:10) The most subdued piece. The lead vocal is done very well by a female vocalist. Parts of this song sound like a subdued progressive waltz.

4. The Purple Queen's Lips (9:48) The beginning alternates between heavy bass/guitar riffing and a sweet violin. A flute and wah-wah guitar enter the picture along with a male vocal. From then on it's a complex interchange of everything in various time signatures and playing intensity.

5. The Egg-Shaped Moon (9:08) This is one of the best compositional pieces of progressive rock that I've ever heard. After a powerful introduction the vocal appears along with some flute playing and the piece just carries the listener away through the whole musical journey.

6. Stratus (13:24) There are echoes of the Mahavishnu Orchestra along with some Middle Eastern influenced passages at the beginning of this piece. In time, a violin wails away, a somber melody replaces it and then things start to heat up. The ensemble playing here is nothing short of amazing. Things slow down for a bit of old fashioned French gypsy/jazz song styling's. The whole group of musician's joins in on the final passage which is contrapuntal playing at its finest.

In conclusion, this is an album that creates its own genre much like Jethro Tull, Frank Zappa and King Crimson. These musician's are to be commended for the dedication required to compose and play the compositions. I only hope their audience finds them.

Schizoid Man | 5/5 |

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