Taylor, Robin - Edge Of Darkness,
There is always a problem with labelling music, in that labelling it can mean that the artist can be pigeon-holed which can then mean that people who may enjoy the music don’t actually get to hear it, as they don’t think that they will like it. Take Burzum for example, I defy anyone to categorise Varg with just one style of music but those who have never played it will say that Burzum are Black Metal – without actually hearing the many different styles he has produced. And so we come to Robin Taylor – this was his eighth album and was released originally in 2000 (he has now release nearly 30!). While Robin will always be viewed as a jazz artist, often working within the avant-garde, there is something else going on with this album as well. Those who know me would say that my musical tastes are eclectic (if they are polite – my daughters often just state that I listen to some very weird stuff), and that I have been known to often play atmospheric black metal along the lines of Agalloch or NeguraBunget etc. I was surprised how many times I kept thinking of that type of band while I was playing this – there is a lot going on, with the brass instruments particularly winding up and down the scales in a frenetic and frightening fashion. But, the sound I heard most was one of coldness – this album chills me to the bone, and in that manner it has more in common with atmospheric black metal than anything else.
I can imagine some reviewers and listeners being quite frightened when they heard this for the first time as there is a menace present throughout which makes it unsettling and unnerving to say the least. So there will be many that will feel that this album is to be avoided, but to my ears it is one that is to be welcomed and explored for what it is – a masterpiece. Maybe Robin ought to reissue it with a darker cover, changed the band to something exotic such as Norbilyator and see what the extreme mags think of this – I think they would have a blast.