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Taylor's Universe


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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Danish ensemble TAYLOR'S UNIVERSE is basically the band of prolific composer and multi-instrumentalist Robin Taylor. At the time of writing he has just about 30 productions tied to his name, of which 11 have been albums issued under the Taylor's Universe moniker. "Kind of Red" is the most recent of them, and also the most recent of Taylor's overall endeavors so far.

Taylor's Universe has been a project that has provided high quality productions to a limited but dedicated fan base ever since 1994. And with "Kind of Red" I'm pretty sure that this fan base will expand. First and foremost because the music this time around is subtly more accessible in nature, or perhaps slightly less demanding, one might say, yet also maintaining Taylor's qualities as an innovator and creator of music hard to place and harder to categorize. It's a production well worth seeking out by fans of instrumental progressive rock, and in particular those who tend to be fascinated by artists venturing into realms where few others have imagined going.

Report this review (#716733)
Posted Sunday, April 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Robin Taylor's new album,released in 2012-KIND OF RED-proves-once again,if necessary- how intelligent and adventurous prog music should sound today!Definitelly,the author of this album knows very well the fact that music should be always intriguing and full of surprises- that's why this excellent new album got everything to be catchy and interesting!An excellent production-a big and crystal clear sound for some excellent musical ideas for an album without any weak points!Definitelly,the music is not at all an easy audition-you should have some progressive music experience and be an open minded person to dig seriously the music of this pretentious album-but in the end,the satisfaction of an audition of a wonderful musical material is guaranteed!FIRESTONE -the opening track-is giving to the listeners-the precise musical direction of what is following on the album!Great progressive music in the Rio- avant-garde sense,with some KING CRIMSON influences and -obviously-with the touch of genius of his author-Mr Robin Taylor-a musician in continuous search of new ways of musical expression of his tremendeous talent and endless positive inspiration!I really like the fact that Robin Taylor is going on this album to explore some uncommon soundscapes and is offering to the listeners some wonderful musical images!The album needs many auditions to be fully understood,that's for sure-but any new audition is coming with something new and unexpected!SALON BLEU and TORTUGAS got something almost mystical -a great vibe of magic and fascination-expressing some great musical images!The sax sound is wonderful too,the drumming work is impressive -but overall there's this unbelieveble complex and diverse guitar and keyboard sounds from Mr Taylor himself -a great contemporary musician! Hard to find the musical peak of this album-all the material is very solid and united-a great album under all aspects-a great musical journey for everybody!You are kindly invited!4.5 solid stars for me!
Report this review (#719072)
Posted Monday, April 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
5 stars On August 17th 1959, Miles Davis released probably the most important jazz record of all-time, 'A Kind Of Blue'. In November 1974 King Crimson released their final album before being disbanded, 'Red'. So is this album a mixture of the two? Or am I being somewhat simplistic or reading something into the title that isn't there? Having played this album numerous times I have come to the decision that maybe I am right after all. Take the second song, "Jakriborg"; there are some strong guitar lines that Fripp would be proud of ? possibly some of the most direct from Robin himself on any of his albums ? yet there is some wonderfully fluid trumpet and a real feeling that a 'progression' for Robin.

I have been lucky enough to hear the vast majority of Robin's albums, whether solo, his free jazz group Taylor's Free Universe, as well as Taylor's Universe but for his thirtieth album he has brought together a group that musically has as much in common with VDGG, King Crimson and even Faust as they do with Miles. There are some incredibly simple yet poignant sections such as the syncopated rhythms in "Firestone", melodies that are repeated and are extremely effective, leading to gentle keyboards (is that a Hammond I hear?) that brings to mind memories of Procul Harum before the trumpet takes a more centre stage.

The more I listened the more progressive influences I could spot, with Colosseum being particularly noticeable, but this is way more than just a cobbling together of different styles in the vain hope that it will produce something listenable: there is a real structure and layering of the instruments that shows that a master arranger has been at work to produce music that is complex yet incredibly melodic and easy to listen to at the same time.

When artists are prolific it is sometimes hard to know where to start ? I avoided Zappa for years as I felt that I needed a guide (in the end I just plunged in and am so glad that I did) ? and Taylor is a case in point. But take it from me this is an incredible album ? if you have ever enjoyed Robin's work in the past then this is something you will need to have, and if you have yet to start investigating then the time to do so is now.

This is five stars in anyone's language ? incredible.

Report this review (#731361)
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars His lates album to date , issued in february this year 2012 named Kind of red with a very intresting cover art is another good album from him, but is my least fav from his last 5 albums or so. The amound of sax is bigger then on his last 2-3 albums and in places is very usual for my ears. Another change in line up, with Hugh Steinmetz on trumped added. Taylor's Universe music is not easy to listening, is hard to get into, but when you get undernith anyone will be fascinating by the quite original ideas brought into prog rock music in last two decades. I said that this latest album is my least fav, because here , he really uses almost all the ideashad on previous work annd adding a more doze of sax and horn arrangements, but keeping the rest of the instrument on fire aswell. Not a pieces is in front, maybe Tortugas being among the best from here, all are ok, but far from the greatness of previous albums. Anyway Taylor's Universe music must be discoverd by many prog fans as possible, some of the album really worth to be investigated. 3 stars
Report this review (#847438)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Avante-garde, free-floating, saxophone, horror/fun house. These are all words/phrases I think of when listening to this album. I'm not even sure what genre to classify this as, so avante-garde will do. This is my first time listening to this band, although they have been around for some time now, with almost a dozen releases. It is interesting and quite diverse and all instrumental. So if music without vocals turns you off you can ignore the rest of this :P The saxophone is used as the driving instrument here and it is used well. It doesn't come off as too in your face, it seems to be just right. But that isn't the only thing to look forward to here. There are also quite a few Jazz influences, as well as some King Crimson-esque stuff. If you are unsure about all this, give the songs Sunday Image and Jakriborg a listen to get an idea of what's on display here. Oh and listen to Tortugas, oh hell, just listen to the whole thing, I doubt you will be disappointed.


Report this review (#848884)
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars NOW!, this is a great RIO/AG album, daring, proposing, not trying to make any kind of statement, just impeccable, sensibly executed, original song-written music. More in the natural borderline of A.V. Jazz,, not merely because of the instruments, also composition-wise. Why it is not in the Prog-Jazz/Fusion section?, I suppose it has to do, with all the kind of stop-overs (Tangent-like) they cover, to their final route. RIO as such, it is not, understanding the need of tags, I will tag it, post-RIO/AG. The language is friendly, I suppose, considering their use of minor-chords, so close to the genre, but their conception is quiet a thrill. So, if you are looking for more RIO/AG- fireworks of " thumps and crashes and screams", there are some, but because music progression, not to impress or just for kicks, and not the whole of the album which is itself a relief. Also, no singing, that for me is a super-plus (no-preaching), just abstract voices flowing here and there, Sometimes you will be reminded of the Tull's early power -prog/ rock and just as a mere detail. I don't exactly remember the Tangent's tag, but "Kind of Red" sounds also, a bit like that, not musically, but in the multi-national approach . TAYLOR'S UNIVERSE - Kind of Red, has one of the most uncommon attributes one kind find, they are not scared to arrive to different musical-areas, that is why, I suppose, they are here in the quiet un-populated RIO/AG planet. Great songs which go different routes, without losing identity, and without fearing that sometimes, things may not turn strictly RIO or AG, but with that boldness that categorizes the RIO/AG crowd, they handle novelty but also beauty, if encountered, as they do with other musical fields. Thanks for this PA recommendation, my belief in the future of Rock in Opposition, has lightened up, again, for real. Therefore, if you like intelligent, not over the top musical structures, which sometimes are jazzy, others pure RIO, others AG, others pure prog-rock, without oversized pretentions, but talent alone, this is a very good project (as for it to be essential,.. Well, that is your pick!. For me, ****4 PA stars.
Report this review (#1026867)
Posted Sunday, September 1, 2013 | Review Permalink

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