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Experimental Health

a Studio release
by
Taylor's Universe

Release Year: 1998

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. Man On the Mountain (7:39)
  2. Elephant Kiss (4:33)
  3. Inner Space (6:06)
  4. Base Camp (2:14)
  5. Notkai (3:25)
  6. Milo's Dakdar (2:42)
  7. Kindergarten (4:33)
  8. Therapy (5:57)
  9. Charly & Juliet (4:24)
  10. Experimental Health (9:58)
Robin Taylor
guitars, bass, keyboards
Karsten Vogel
saxophones
Rasmus Grosell
drums, percussion, bass
With:
    Jan Marsfeldt
    keyboards
    Kim Menzer
    flute & trombone (on 2) & tenor saxophone (on 9)
    Henning Plannthin
    guitar solo (on 1 & 9)
    Jytte Lindberg
    vocalize (on 1 & 7)

Reviewed by MichelF on 17 Apr 2008


Each time I have the pleasure to discover a new CD of Taylor's Universe, it's a real joy. This 1998 opus, Experimental Health, is no exception; excellent musicianship, great compositions and superb jazz fusion music. We have at the same time an improvisational and an experimental feel sown in a very coherent whole. The result is an acutely original blend which puts, in my view, Taylor's Universe among the greatest bands of jazz fusion of all time. My listening of Taylor's Universe has gone backward in time. It made me notice that the jazz foundation is more obvious in the past. I'm fascinated at how easily we enter in the music and let ourselves be guided by it. The music is complex, but its aesthetic qualities render it deceptively accessible; the composition is that good. The underlying structure is second to the beauty we ear. Certain tracks are near progressive rock of the kind King Crimson produced in the past, a path Robin Taylor will trod more and more in the future.

As with other projects they made together, the saxs of Karsten Vogel is an essential part of the soundscapes as are the guitars of Robin Taylor. Rasmus Grosell drums and percussions are of the highest level at feat often seen in jazz, but uncommon in rock. This trio is the backbone of the music. The other participants, Kim Menzer on flute, trombone and tenor saxophone, Henning Plannthin on guitar, Jan Marsfeldt on keys and Jytte Lindberg voice add flesh on the tracks they contributed.

“Man On The Mountain” is in the best tradition of modern jazz. Weather Report came to my mind (the soprano sax maybe…), even tough this piece is original. I absolutely love the sound of the guitar of Plannthin. It is an excellent introduction to the album. “Elephant Kiss” continues on that blissful jazz path, with the flute instead of the sax. We also hear the elephant kiss (the trombone of Menzer)! The finish sounded very prog to my ears. “Inner Space” seems to use the preceding theme and in that sense is a continuity of Elephant Kiss. “Base Camp” made me thinks of the film Crash by Cronnenberg. “Notkai” is a fun jazz groove. “Milo's Dakdar” is a superb mix of fusion/prog KC style. It is a piece that is too short in my view. It would have been great with a longer development. “Kindergarten” is like a transition to the more experimental part of the CD. Even if it smells funny, it is still jazz (as Zappa would have said). “Therapy” is the most progressive rock sounding tune of the CD. It is also my favourite, very much in spirit with KC of the Red period. “Charly & Juliet” sounded at times almost like free jazz in a prog structure! “Experimental Health” is effectively the experimental piece of the CD. At my first listen, I genuinely thought that I had a problem with the CD. Wrong, which means an uncommon composition destined to seasoned ears.

I strongly recommend this CD to all lovers of jazz fusion, but also to progressive rock aficionados who loved KC jazzy period or VDGG. I am now an admirer of Taylor’ Universe music, I will eagerly wait for his next CD.