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Taiga biography
US project TAIGA is the creative vehicle of composer and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Spruance. Since 2005 or thereabouts he has been working on material to be issued under this moniker, and with some outside additions in the instrument department Taiga's debut album Twelve Sketches was issued in December 2010. Spruance is currently working on a second full length production for this solo project.

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3.44 | 6 ratings
Twelve Sketches

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TAIGA Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Twelve Sketches by TAIGA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.44 | 6 ratings

Twelve Sketches
Taiga Crossover Prog

Review by dsbenson

4 stars Twelve Sketches sounds like a clear homage to the wonderful 70's recording of Bo Hansson, so a categorization of Symphonic Prog wouldn't be too far off here as well. I wouldn't be surprised to read an interview with Jonathan Spruce and hear that he intentionally tried to create a follow-on album to those Bo Hansson classics.

To my ears, the similarity is really incredible, down to the organ playing as a lead instrument. Listened through that frame, I believe that anyone who loves those Bo Hansson albums (as I do!) will love this album, too. The general instrumental lineup is similar: softly fuzzed electric guitar, bass, drums, flute and of course that marvelous organ right up front and center. A few songs have harder electric guitar (but still mellow), and some acoustic guitar. A touch of mellotron-flute, and a bit of strings in places.

The album has a nice sense of space without being overly reliant on effects and reverb, with clear and non- reverberant drums. It's a classic early 70's progressive sound that I always find tangentially related to early Pink Floyd (like a distant cousin), and it's really lovely to listen to. This is an easy-listening progressive album.

I'm not going to pore over every song, but the first several could easily lost Bo Hansson tracks, as could several later tracks. The fourth song, Wooden Rainbow, brings in a nice ostinato acoustic guitar. Feast of Bread brings in a flute mellotron sound along with the guitar, and it's quite nice albeit very short. Restless Slumber really does feel like a sketch, but it's also short.

Summary: I loved it! I've rated this as high as some of the Bo Hansson albums in my collection, and it serves a similar place in my listening rotation. Pretty prog music that works well for a foggy or rainy day, or as music when I'm working. Definitely a happy sound. I look forward to more from this composer!

 Twelve Sketches by TAIGA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.44 | 6 ratings

Twelve Sketches
Taiga Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars Multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Spruance seems to have nearly everything he needs to create some successful prog rock music. He has some writing skills. He seems to be competant enough on a wide array of instruments, and has friends to fill in some of the gaps. But there is something missing on this, the first, and as yet the only release from his creation, Taiga.

The songs are somewhat interesting as they are, if not a bit repetitious (I find that some of the themes in different tracks sound all too similar). They create a moody listening environment, that draws the listener in. The problem is, once drawn in, there is not a whole lot inside. Spruance is a fine composer, and creates great rhythm tracks for his songs. But what he needs is a soloist who can take the music to the next level.

That said, there is a nice short piece, Feast Of Bread, that sounds very much like a mellotron, followed by an excellent Canterbury flavored With the Red Sun.

If Spruance can build upon his ideas, he can create some excellent albums.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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