Exposé Online banner

Taylor's Universe — From Scratch
(Marvel of Beauty MOBCD 025, 2015, CD)

by Peter Thelen, 2015-03-20:

From Scratch Cover art Each new release by Taylor’s Universe brings some familiarity and some surprises, and so it is with their latest release From Scratch. The cast is familiar, with Robin Taylor handling bass guitar, keyboards, vocorder, percussion, and electric guitar on a few tracks, with Karsten Vogel on saxes and bass clarinet, Claus Bøhling on electric guitar, Klaus Thrane on drums, and Thomas Ulstrup on Minimoog. Add to that some extra sax players on one cut, several vocalists where needed, including engineer Louise Nipper. Overall, the style this time is heavier and darker, with a more direct attack; there are more wordless vocals, subtle spoken voice loops and edits, all epitomized by the album’s centerpiece, the nine-minute “Interrail,” a haunting piece that will get stuck in the listener’s head for days. The interesting use of vocorder, tapes and looped voices on “Beta X” makes it unique in comparison to almost anything in the band’s repertoire to date. The beautiful and melodic “Laura’s Lullaby” is a moving showcase for Vogel’s sax soloing with subtle backing voices that at its conclusion proceeds directly into the powerful instrumental anthem “Für Louise” with some rocking guitar by guest Finn Olafsson. “Balcony People” makes further use of low-level spoken voice samples whole the piece slowly grows out of them until it assumes its form as a rocking showcase for conversations between effected guitars and Minimoog. Perhaps the most intense piece is the seven-minute closer “Autumn River,” where soaring guitars float high above a backdrop of flowing loops and dreamy textures. Overall, From Scratch is a very surprising change in trajectory for Taylor’s Universe.

by Henry Schneider, 2015-05-30:

Robin Taylor is quite a prolific Danish guitarist, recording and performing both as a solo artist and also leader of Taylor’s Universe since the mid 80s. Each new release contains new compositions bringing some familiarity with things past and surprises of new things to come. For this outing, From Scratch, the Universe is Robin (electric and bass guitars, keyboards, percussion, etc.), Karsten Vogel (sax and bass clarinet), Claus Bøhling (electric guitar), Thomas Thor Viderøulstrup (miniMoog), and Klaus Thrane (drums). Guests include Finn Olafsson (electric guitar), Jakob Mygind (sax), Carsten Sindvald (sax), and the voices of Jytte Lindberg, Louise Nipper, and Jan Fischer. There is something for everyone here from the melodic to the avant-garde. The opening track “Other Meetings” is dominated by organ and very polished electric guitar. This is a smooth progressive rock tune going through many changes and mood shifts. The second track “Beta X” starts as an amorphous dissonant and eerie soundscape mixed with laughter samples than morphs back and forth between melodic sax and analog electronics with hints of Besombes and Rizet. “Balcony People” takes the use of voices even further and then launches into some blazing guitar solos and jazz-fusion. The nine-minute “Interrail” starts off cold and sterile with wordless female singing over Vogel’s heavy dark alto sax. Then suddenly at the mid-point there is an abrupt shift. If you were not paying close attention, you would swear that a new song had started. The beautiful “Laura’s Lullaby” showcases Vogel’s mastery of the soprano sax accompanied by Taylor’s piano chops and segues nicely into “Für Louise” with Sinvald’s sinister baritone sax. Again, about the mid-point the music kicks into high gear with melodic piano, excellent guitar work, and Mygind’s soprano sax. Taylor saved the best track for last “Autumn River,” an ambient flowing masterpiece of Taylor's keyboards, EBowed guitar loops, and Bøhling’s soaring electric guitar flights of fancy. Overall quite an excellent album and a pleasure to enjoy.


Filed under: New releases , 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Robin Taylor, Karsten Vogel, Taylor's Universe / Taylor's Free Universe

More info

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Visible Touch - Forgotten Land & Vienna – They're called Visible Touch though they have nothing whatsoever to do with 80s Genesis or any Genesis for that matter. Think instead of all those great 80s hair-farmer bands: The Scorpions, Judas...  (1999) » Read more

LSD March - Nikutai no tubomi – “Psychedelic rock group.” Those words can describe a lot of different bands: Strawberry Alarm Clock, Hawkwind, Amon Düül, Pink Floyd, Gong, Iron Butterfly, Ozric Tentacles. Even...  (2008) » Read more

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Playing the Piano / Out of Noise – Some thirty-five years ago Japanese rock music was still an unknown subject, the only exception being percussionist Stomu Yamash’ta. Then came the Yellow Magic Orchestra, which marked the beginning...  (2010) » Read more

The Muffins with Marshall Allen & Knoel Scott - Loveletter #2 "The Ra Sessions" – What does one get when The Muffins mix it up with two great sax players (Marshall Allen and Knoel Scott) from Sun Ra’s Arkestra? That’s right, not two – but four sax players, plus...  (2006) » Read more

Spirosfera - Umanamnesi – Does Alberto Piras have a twin brother? Spirosfera is an Italian quartet of guitar, bass / keys, drums, and dedicated lead vocalist Nicola Pavan, with regular guests on Hammond organ and saxes....  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues