All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

263

Taylor's Universe: Certain Undiscoveries

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Danish multi-instrumentalist Robin Taylor continues to explore the contemporary progressive rock arena with his group Taylor's Universe on Certain Undiscoveries. Unlike Oyster's Apprentice, which employed six musicians, Taylor practically goes it alone this time, retaining drummer Rasmus Grosell and saxophonist Karsten Vogel.

While Taylor's Universe has always been a forum for Taylor's writing (as opposed to the more improvisation- based parallel group, Taylor's Free Universe), Vogel is given ample solo space, making it clear that he continues to evolve since his beginnings as a 1960s avant-garde pioneer and founding member of the 1970s progressive rock group Secret Oyster.

Certain Undiscoveries makes use of irregular meters more than Oyster's Apprentice, but Taylor's near-anthemic melodism remains a defining characteristic. Like a more idiosyncratic Mike Oldfield, Taylor is interested in layering textures on tunes ranging from the insistently rocking "Mandrake to the Spanish-tinged "Nilfish, funky "Majestætn, Ministeren og Forsvarschefen and largely Brian Eno-esque "Variations on a Theme by D.S.

But such blanket categorization of Taylor's music misses the mark in characterizing his often episodic approach. "Mandrake shifts feel no less than three times in the first of its five minutes, moving between half and straight time within the first two. "Majestætn, Ministeren og Forsvarschefen makes its way through a visceral opening groove only to dissolve into a gentler symphonic mid-section that ultimately yields to a solo from Vogel that demonstrates he's still got chops to burn.

Taylor's mix of analog and digital technology gives his music a retro feel while remaining thoroughly contemporary. He's also an expert editor, making the foundation beneath Vogel's frenzied solo on "Ministry of Light choppy and nearly impossible to pin down. Nor is there a lack of sonic weight. Taylor's tone of choice on guitar is overdriven, giving riff-based passages on songs like "Mandrake and "Kelds Far considerable density.

But it's Certain Undiscoveries' closer, the nine-minute "A Beautiful Garden with a Lot of Depressed Animals including Noise Sculpture, that's the album's most adventurous track. A majestic and cinematic opening quickly shifts into an organ-driven passage reminiscent of minimalist composer Terry Riley's early organ works. Like Riley, there's a slow but inevitable development as the staggered keyboard is absorbed by chordal washes that serve as foundation and set-up for a processed saxophone solo. The gentle ambience suddenly turns dense and chaotic, featuring Grosell's tumultuous drumming and harsh synthesizers before returning to chordal washes for an abrupt finish.

Certain Undiscoveries is another strong outing from Taylor's Universe that locates a fascinating juncture among complex arrangements, strong themes, virtuosic soloing and all-encompassing textures.


Track Listing: Mandrake; Little Vic; Nilfish; Majesty 7; Majest

Personnel: Karsten Vogel: soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet; Robin Taylor: guitars, grand piano, Hammond organ, stringman, harmonium, synthesizers, portasound, glockenspiel, percussion, treatments, tapes; Rasmus Grosell: drums.

Title: Certain Undiscoveries | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Mals

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
From Scratch

From Scratch

Marvel of Beauty
2015

buy
Worn Out

Worn Out

Marvel of Beauty
2013

buy
Kind Of Red

Kind Of Red

Marvel of Beauty
2012

buy
Artificial Joy

Artificial Joy

Marvel of Beauty
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Lifelike CD/LP/Track Review
Lifelike
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Whatever Possessed Me CD/LP/Track Review
Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live At The Fillmore East 1968 CD/LP/Track Review
Live At The Fillmore East 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "Cubafonía" CD/LP/Track Review Cubafonía
by Matt Hooke
Published: December 26, 2017
Read "Stolen Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 7, 2017
Read "Clareia" CD/LP/Track Review Clareia
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 9, 2018
Read "Like A Radio" CD/LP/Track Review Like A Radio
by Doug Collette
Published: March 20, 2018
Read "Threes" CD/LP/Track Review Threes
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 24, 2017
Read "Straight Ahead From Havana" CD/LP/Track Review Straight Ahead From Havana
by James Nadal
Published: June 6, 2017