Taylor's Universe - Terra Nova (English version)

Kev Rowland

ImageTerra Nova was Robin’s 23rd release, and came out in 2007. Here Robin was again joined by Karsten and Rasmus and also by trumpet player Hugh Steinmetz on one song, and singers Louise Napper and Jytte Lindberg. In some ways this is more immediate than the previous album, with personal favourite “Amhage West” incorporating elements not only of jazz but also the feel of some of the great Seventies progressive bands such as Alan Parsons and even Kansas. In fact it is interesting to compare some of the stylings here to the original Kansas (now known as Proto-Kaw) who also used woodwind (as opposed to the later violin). But while Kerry Livgren is renowned for leading his compositions into extremely complex areas, this album again has a lightness and almost fragility that is both entrancing and compelling. Again this is music that takes time to really understand and grow with, although there are some numbers such as “Meccano” which are far more immediate (although Karsten does get let loose near the end), yet the end result is more than worth the effort.

Progheads are used to complex time signatures and musical brilliance, it tends to come with the genre, and jazz freaks are the same and while there is more than enough of both on this CD to attract them it is the restraint and space that will keep them returning time and again. Space is probably the most unused element within modern popular music – extreme bands want to have everything louder than everything else without realising that it is contrast that truly makes music vibrant and exciting. Here again the listener is invited into a world, to sit down and rest awhile and look around and see what is on offer instead of being blasted off with yet another complex riff and shred. When Robin moves the pace, such as on “They Usually Come At Night” where there is a shade more urgency and more attack from all the players it really does come alive.

Yet again another very powerful release from Robin Taylor that fans of good music, whatever label you wish to ascribe to it, really should be investigating further.

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