Artist/ Band: Taylor's Universe
Title: Kind Of Red
Label: Marvel Of Beauty Records
Year of Release: 2012
Offical Artist/ Band Link

The Review:

I have seen many people confused as to the three different bands (or versions) that Robin Taylor has releases under. In fact there has been a fourth called Art Cinema, which was an attempt to do a more commercial musical project. The three main entities youíll find all masterminded by Taylor are Robin Taylor solo albums, Taylor's Universe or Taylor's Free Universe. I wonít do a thesis on all these or all the different members of each band over the years but this will give readers the info to go discover all the music Robin Taylor has made (29 releases) before this 2012 ĎKind of Redí, as Taylorís Universe.

I own all thirty releases now and have been a new fan since I first discovered his music via the ďTwo PackĒ three inch double mini CDís that I first reviewed here at ProgNaut back in 2010. From that point I searched for every CD I could find and ended up with all of them finally. Iíve enjoyed the variations, the contrasts and the inventiveness of them all. ďKind of RedĒ follows a similar path of mixing jazz, progressive rock, and more. The first song in fact begins as a very jazzy piece but one minutes into it, then comes the King Crimson (Larkís Tongue in Aspic) influence but with organ added for the unique factor. Things keep evolving as just the organ alone takes the composition to an excellent melding of a more Crimson soaked/ Jan Garbarek fusion. Taylor does a perfect job of taking what he starts with, making good things happen in the middle, then bringing the two together. Great sax too. The second song (Jakriborg) has a more easy going feel as it also allows the sax to float along expressively and open. Taylorís guitar is also beautiful here with a more sustained and subtle appearance. Hugh Steinmetz does some superb trumpet work on this song and Taylor brings in some mellotron (M-Tron actually but who knows the difference once itís produced and M-Tron is Mellotron software version so I will refer to it as mellotron from here out). The mellotron is used again on track three (Crackpot Men) and it basks in the glory of the 70's great progressive mellotron bands. Itís what most of us canít get enough of. Lotís of twists and turns on this one. You can hear Crimson, VDGG, and Taylorís master touch on it all. This might be my favorite track! In fact, itís worth the price alone.

The fourth song (Sunday Image) surprises you with a passive beginning and eerie organ, but then comes more of that great mellotron, then supreme trumpet work again. I also love the piano that states a simple melody in just the exact right places. I love the 8/4 time signature and how Klaus Thrane plays drums to it. The listener will be surprised yet again with the fifth song (Salon Bleu) with itís tropical and then bebop flavor with undercurrents of Weather Report. ďGhost voicesĒ are used on this cut to give it the trippy sound. Then out of no where, the twist happens the last minute of the song with a stop and start of new idea. Itís a great example of why no one can be safe to say anything about one of Robin Taylorís songs by only listening to the first two minutes of it. Of course there is one case you could do that, and this would be song six (Terasso) as it only lasts for 1:07 and it is Robinís humor that is injected here. He then quickly has a killer VDGG styled song (Tortugas) following, beginning with organ, and developing in all itís glory. Be prepared for some more stops and starts to keep the listener on a trip along jagged cliffs, narrow stone alleys, hills and valleys, and things behind big heavy doors. This is certainly an adventurous song in the best way as it brings in yet another element of horror soundtrack but skips and runs right into that classic VDGG/Crimson styled progressive rock. It packs a dozen plus ideas in a 7:33 song. A flagship song for sure! The last song ( Lost in Jakriborg) begins with seagull effects ( cool way they are produced with strings and effects)...Then nice piano and building bottom end string effects, a little bit like Univers Zero. Then of course the change into just mellotron and big pounce of the drums and another great trumpet performance. This is simply beautiful and big! What a way to end the recording! I only wish it had gone on longer. But 43:38 of this CD was such a great listening experience, and I plan on listening to it again (making the 5th time) real soon. I listened to this CD four times and quite frankly, there was so much more than I could grasp on the first time, I beg all music critics to always listen to ALL their promos at least three times over a week period so they give a fair chance to anything. I really got the full strength and brilliance of this CD on the fourth time.

Robin Taylorís 30th recording (no matter what arrangement of band version he does it under) may take time to grow on you, but more importantly, it takes time to seep in. ĎKind of Redí is brilliantly put together with those contrasts, the style fusions, and the unexpected directions in many songs. Itís precisely why I have always seen him as a great composer, arranger, producer, multi instrumentalist, and over all creative genius. This CD is meant to be listened to as a whole and followed from first to last song. Without being obvious, I found it to be a concept album where the pleasure is on the trip all the way from start to finish. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

Reviewed by Lee Henderson on February 27th, 2012

Tracks:

01. Firestone 6:31
02. Jakriborg 6:34
03. Crackpot Men 5:49
04. Sunday Imagine 6:01
05. Salon Bleu 5:32
06. Terasso 1:07
07. Tortugas 7:33
08. Lost in Jakriborg 4:28

Reviewed Discography

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