Taylor’s Universe - Return to Whatever
(MALS 315)

From Aural Innovations October 2009 update

Danish multi-instrumentalist, Robin Taylor is back with the latest Taylor’s Universe CD. He is backed by many of the same folks as on the Art Cinema CD, including Michael Denner (Guitar), Carsten Sindvald (saxes), Klaus Thrane (drums), Fleming Muus Tranberg (bass), and Pierre Tassone (violin). Two special guests, Louise Nipper, who appears and mixes most of Robin’s projects, and Tine Lilholt, complete the band. The music is all instrumental except for two tracks with Louise adding some vocals. How to describe it? It is very melodic, pretty music, not as challenging in the end as some of Robin’s work but all the musicians get turns to take the lead in different songs and lay down some inspired solos. I found the record quite boring until I cranked it up, then it really sprang to life for me. Volume helps. Mooncake starts things off and features solos by everyone but the organ played by Robin really stands out. July 6th, is quite a different track lead by piano and featuring Celtic harp and minimal guitar outside the laser guitar that shoots in and out, just a slow building bass and drum track. Robin plays almost all the instruments on this track. Haunted Yellow House features the whole band and reminds me a bit more of some of the stuff on Art Cinema, and it features a nice spacey section as well, then the track becomes quite happy lead by the organ line before the electric guitar disrupts the soundscape with a soaring solo. The track ends with a faded out sax solo. The Atlas Clock is one of the more complex tracks with a great almost chaotic interplay between the players at times, balanced against some croaking frogs and soft sax in the background. I am not all that fond of the metronome style drumming; it could be more interesting for sure. Earth starts off quite slowly with flute by Tine and piano/keys and a spoken word sample before the drums kick in and it becomes a bit like one of those organ driven Jethro Tull tracks until it is taken over by Carsten who plays a long multilayered sax solo which is the center piece of the track. Pink Islands again features Robin’s laser guitar to start things off and Michael lays down the second heavier solo with a background of a blues organ. Robin’s laser guitar later cuts through the track like a psychedelic switchblade of distraction. More solos by the others come in later as the track becomes very melodic and pretty. I wished it had gone back to the blues angle rather than sound a lot like some of the other tracks. Mooncake reprise finishes off this pretty cool CD and features Michael’s best work on the CD. If you like Robin’s work you will like this one. If you liked the Art Cinema, you should also treat yourself to this one.

Visit the MALS record label site at: http://www.mals.ru

Check out the band web site at: http://www.progressor.net/robin-taylor

Reviewed by Scott Heller

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