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Taylor's Universe

Release Year: 1996

Date Label Catalog # Comments
Marvel of Beauty
Added To Proggnosis Database on: 12/23/2007 12:00:00 AM
Entry Last Updated on: by:
  1. Sir Vannah (3:48)
  2. Horsemen's Parade (3:20)
  3. Porky Park (4:42)
  4. Ghost Dance (3:10)
  5. Syte-2 (1:23)
  6. The SOS Coincidence (4:34)
  7. Hard To Realize (6:00)
  8. Another Rainy Day (9:03)
  9. Let's Run Away & Be Indians (6:49)
Robin Taylor
electric & bass guitars; percussion;electronics, loops
Jan Marsfeldt
synthesizers, organ, & piano
Mads Hansen
Hugh Steinmetz
Jytte Lindberg
voice (on 1, 3, & 9)

Reviewed by MichelF on 10 May 2008

Each time I heard a new Taylor's Universe album, I rediscover excellent musicianship, humor and a fine blend of jazz and progressive music, sometimes bordering on the experimental. Since I travel backward in time in my reviews, I can appreciate the standard of quality always present in the work of Robin Taylor. The album Pork released in 1996 is no exception. On this CD, his chief accomplices are the same as those of their eponymous opus; Jan Marsfeldt on keys and Mads Hansen on drums. Hugh Steinmetz on trumpet and Jytte Lindberg voice complete the band. This album is jazzier than what will follow. Most compositions are by Taylor and, as usual, not on the commercial side of things. Most pieces are rather short.

“Sir Vannah” beginning is in the tradition of Miles Davies trumpet on Bitches Brew and the early fusion movement, but with a more humorous and experimental feel. The voices are used as musical instruments, not to convey meaning. “Horsemens Parade” is a good mix of jazz and progressive rock, my kind of fusion… The ending is strange and this piece is too short. “Porky Park” is another very strong piece where the drumming and the percussions are important ingredients. It evolves in a near chaotic sounding structure, only to return to more melodic fusion music. “Ghost Dance (Indian Hip Hop)”, the next tune offer us a funny sounding music with near elephant sounding like instrument, the beat is important here and it creates a world jazz impression. “Syte 2” is a brief piece, like an introduction to something. ‘The S.O.S. Coincidence” seems to continue the preceding piece. It is pure jazz in my view. It also made me think of Weather Report. The voices seem to recite an incantation…“Hard to Realize” is a great complex piece, austere and slow evolving, with burst of energy followed by quieter moments; probably one of the best tracks on this CD. “Another Rainy Day” is a near epic length track with a mix of experimental music with free jazz, it’s a challenging piece to listen to. “Let's Run Away and Be Indians” finishes with another very original and varied tune. The voices are mixed up with the characteristic soundwall of Taylor. This sounds like a strange world beat piece where you could even hear notes of Jingle Bell. The guitar is also a strong point with hints of Fripp.

As for other albums of Taylor's Universe I recommended it strongly for all lovers of jazz fusion music with a prog twist.