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Robin Taylor - November CD (album) cover


Robin Taylor


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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars November is the seventh solo album by Danish composer and multi-instrumentalist Robin Taylor, and if anyone want to know why he's regarded as experimental and even avant-garde they should get a fair few clues on this production.

The massive 20+ minutes long "The Dark Side of Life" iss the dominating feature in terms of length, a neat wandering melody quickly changing into a multilayered droning experience building up a richly textured wall of sound, and then after 5 minutes or so it slowly dissolves as layers are removed one by one while som dominating droning patterns replace others along the way, ending up with a sparse fragmented affair gradually building up towards a wall of sound again in the last few minutes.

The total opposite is found on "Lowest", an extremely minimalistic arhythmic exploration with fragmented piano and guitar sounds occasionally enriching the offbeat, slow percussion at hand here.

Thge high point of this production, at least for me, are the tracks "Wating For Something To Happen" and the following excursion "The Big Sleep" - the former containing a broken off piano-dominated theme repeated over and over again over a backdrop of a single droning keyboard-layer featuring a 2 minute pause with fragmented piano noises over the drone; while the latter opens with fragmented noises evolving into a droning venture gradually evolving into a richly textured fluctuating melodic landscape with - you guessed it - droning qualities.

All in all I find this album to be a mixed affair; and although many of the tracks are compelling and intriguing others just tends to get too offbeat for my personal tastes. It's also a pretty bleak effort, inspired by the month of November apparently, which in Taylor's Denmark as well as my own native Norway is a gray and bleak time of the year.

This is also a pretty taxing affair to get familiar with; it does take some experience listening to advanced musical explorations to decode what's going on here - unless you have an inborn talent for enjoying such creation in the first place of course.

Report this review (#230167)
Posted Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Robin's 13th album is very much a solo effort, where he provides all of the instrumentation (piano & Crumar Stringman, electric, acoustic, & bass guitars, percussion, drum samples, processing, etc). Apparently he was inspired by the November of his native Denmark, and the result is something that at times is eerie and certainly very dark. This is an album that has its' roots in the avant-garde, and then moves to polar opposites so that while there is some that could be described as prog with strong guitars there are others that are RIO to the extreme, music that is pure experimentation that Eno would be proud of.

Yes there are elements almost of ambient, short pieces combined with longer more atmospheric, resulting in an album that is challenging yet consoling, jagged yet comforting, antagonistic yet welcoming. Confused? You should be. Listening to "Waiting For Something To Happen" it is hard to believe that this drone and gentle piano/acoustic intro is from the same hands that crafted the song before, "Lowest". But it's okay, before Robin gets too far down the Mike Oldfield track (and he is damn close, take it from me) he throws in enough piano dischord to shake the boat about.

Having now listened to virtually all of Robin's albums I find it hard to understand how he managed to keep the quality so very high ? it won't be to everyone's musical tastes but if you enjoy music outside the norm then you need this.

Report this review (#520779)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I figured this was the perfect month to review this album the way I used to hate November. Not so much anymore as I prefer it to the weather of December through February up here in Canada but still it's the month where the reality of the end of warm weather is made with an exclamation point. The skies are unsettled and the winds get stronger and summer seems like a million years away. Robin has this caption in the liner notes : "Inspired by another year with five Novembers...". Of Robin's solo stuff this is the best that i've heard so far, and he does it all here. As per usual he notes that there are no synthesizers or drum machines. He does play "wrecked" piano, Crumar Stringman, electric & acoustic guitars, bass guitar, percussions, drum samples, processions & treatments.

"High NRG" sounds amazing with the chunky bass and prominant drums as the guitar comes and goes. Piano helps out as well.Killer tune ! "Lowest" sounds like someone playing ping pong (haha).The weakest link here. "Waiting For Something To Happen" features atmosphere as piano, drums and guitar come and go. I like it ! "A Big Sleep" also opens with atmosphere as sparse sounds come and go. A beat after 2 1/2 minutes. Nice. Other sounds join in too. This is great !

"XR-Cism" has atmosphere as piano joins in and comes and goes. Cool sound here as the atmosphere gets louder. "Rotten PNO / Procession NRG" opens with piano only then drums and more join in at 1 1/2 minutes. Nice. I like when the guitar joins in. "The Dark Side Of Life" is the almost 22 minute epic. Piano to start then a beat and more joins in. A loud atmospheric section takes over then the piano returns before 3 minutes. Such a cool repetitive soundscape here. It starts to wind down 15 1/2 minutes in but then it starts to build late. "Relief" is a short closing avant piece with piano.

A very solid 4 stars for "November".

Report this review (#575759)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2011 | Review Permalink

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