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Taal - Mister Green CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.90 | 101 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars TAAL is the name for many things such as the Philippine volcano, an Assamese musical instrument and is even a film from Bollywood as well as being a type of Indian rhythm, but the TAAL we are interested today is a progressive band from Poitiers, France. TAAL is yet another progressive rock band that knows how to take a vast swath of musical influences and sews them all together in a very original way. While only releasing two albums to date which sound very different from one another, the debut MR GREEN shows the band finding an original way to construct highly complex compositions by leaving no influence unused. On this debut we only have five musicians while the second "Skymind" has twice as many but this album still sounds very rich and powerful as it seems like a strange medley of sounds throughout the space and times of our world and melds them together in a very interesting way.

As a template TAAL utilizes everything from traditional French chanson, to Celtic folk, space rock, jazz, metal, Parisian accordion music, cabaret, gypsy violin, ragtime and more progressive elements like Zappa-esque time signatures as well as symphonic, prog metal bits and more! The band pretty much excels at everything it puts forth. It is nearly impossible to go through every stylistic change that goes on here and this will require many listens to digest but only one to really slap you in the face and let you know you have found something truly unique, outstanding and incredible.

I won't go into a track by track analysis but i'll just give the first track "Barbituricus" which is the longest track clocking in at 15:16 a description as an example of just HOW eclectic, HOW adventurous and HOW unpredictable this music is. The album kicks off with a folk song being played on guitar at some party while one member, MR GREEN, decides to walk through a door and light a smokable while we can still hear a party going on on the other side. There seems to be a theme of this MR GREEN character aimlessly wandering around checking out various types of music. The track continues with some Floydian synths slowly creep in taking us on the musical journey. Spacey guitars slowly build up tension sounding Floydian in tone with some Air (French band) type grooves with some rock guitar joining in. The music steadily gets louder and then morphs into some nice Harmonium like symphonic prog with sweet vocalists harmonizing for a while and then some more strange instrumental time signatures that give the guitar a chance to shine before mellowing out to subdued synth line that quickly changes to a mid-tempo metal rocker which alternates between strange keyboard runs and frenetic drum rolls. The music just keeps getting more frenetic and things are changed up more often incorporating different ideas every couple measures or so and i could write an encyclopedia length review if i mentioned every little change! This pace continues for several minutes until it changes into a classical piano run. The guitar repeats the run and they play together. More interesting variations occur. Some ideas are revisited such as the Harmonium symphonic prog and then the track goes on to something completely new! This is about the 10 minute mark and it only continues the pace and franticness.

The rest of the album follows suit with both "Flat Spectre" and "Super Flat Moon" running well over 10 minutes. There are also shorter and sweeter tracks like "Ragtime" which is indeed a rag but sounds more like a cartoon theme with all kinds of crazy instrumental touches added like guitar, horns and a hard rocking section. Although this track is only 2:40 min long it still manages to take you on a roller coaster ride of ideas but unlike many other tracks that can seem aimless at times, this one has a clearly defined melodic approach that is adhered to.

Because this album exhibits a ridiculous amount of different musical ideas it is only recommended for the most adventurous of music lovers who really love the Mr Bungle approach of incorporating everything including the kitchen sink and then some. The difference with TAAL to the more extreme bands like Mr Bungle is that TAAL takes a classical musical approach to its compositions making a symphony of sampling and exceeds in creating a rotisserie of atmospheres and although I wish there could have been more uptempo parts that really ripped as the band tends to stay in the mid-tempo range they do conjure up some virtuosic moments. The brilliance of this one is clearly in the band interplay and how they seamlessly meander throughout the musical universe in unison like a school of fish. If that is your game though you will hardly be disappointed with this one.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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