Robin Taylor - "Isle of Black"
(Transubstans Records Trans031)
From Aural Innovations #40 (September 2008)
Robin Taylor is an avant-garde guitar player based in Denmark. He generally releases about one CD a year but this is his second out this year. As is usual, the music is anything but predictable. 6 tracks in 42 minutes. Robin is joined by his mate Karsten Vogel on saxes from Burning Red Ivanhoe and Secret Oyster, Rasmus Grosell on drums and Louise Nipper on vocals. Robin does the synths, bass, guitars and percussion and surprisingly plays quite little guitar. This is the third CD this group has recorded since 2006. The opening track, Confession, is a strange one with vocal manipulations over a long synth drone, but it slowly picks up and the whole band kicks in. Robin plays some really nice layered guitar towards the end and the track turns into something quite funky and then ends. Johannesburg is next and is a very melodic track with layers of circular repeated keyboard lines that the rest of the song intertwines with until Louise's voice kicks in and it really changes the mood of the song to something airy. I think the piano lines at the end are just to cliché. Swinger is a jazz number and yes, it swings and Karsten plays a great solo. The title track is a bit heavier and again very heavy on the keyboards as the main driving instrument, very melodic at times but also probably the heaviest track with a deep bass line. The mix gets quite psychedelic in the middle of this track. Karsten contributes a solo towards the end.
Mind Archaeology is next and over 9 minutes long. The beginning reminds me of Pink Floyd but then the guitar kicks in it gets really psychedelic and heavy and Karsten is blowing sax, the groove is heavy and the guitar is leading with some cool lines underneath it all. What a jam which sadly ends to soon and the track becomes quite mellow with a beautiful solo by Karsten once again. Tzmit is listed as a bonus track which is strange because the album would only be 31 minutes without this track. What is the point? Was it added much later? Who knows? Anyway, this track is a long drone with the same repeated bass line over and over for 11 minutes. Very slow and pretty boring. You have to really listen closely for the small details of change. Interesting record and not like anything else on Transubstans at this time.
You can find more information from the band's web site athttp://www.progressor.net/robin-taylor
Check out the record label web site at: http://www.recordheaven.net
Reviewed by Scott Heller