Tausig, Jay: Aquarius - The Revolutionist
Although Jay Tausig may be a new name to you and I, he has been yearning to create music since 1967. His first steps into the water were with a piano his relatives owned. His early influences, at the age of seven, came from across the ocean and musical genres. ELP's "Tarkus", and Joni Mitchell's "Blue", were two of his biggest influences. So he set out to bring these two worlds together. A multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, he started playing guitar at age nine. The drums and other instruments were added to his arsenal over the years. He began recording and releasing his own music on his own label. Many of the tracks included covers of some of his favorite bands, like Genesis, King Crimson, to name a few, some brilliant covers of some famous tracks off Jethro Tull's "Aqualung" album, Pink Floyd classics, Steve Hackett, Yes, and Todd Rundgren to name a few more. Tausig released two independent solo original recordings, "The Implications of Invisibility" and "Ipse at Non Solus", between 2010 and 2012. He plans another full length release in 2012, "Delirium" on Mellow Records out of Italy. He has teamed with Ed Unitsky, who provides the art for "Aquarius" and the other 11 solo instrumental records, which follow and combine for a "Trip Around the Sun" package, to be released each month during 2012. Ed's artwork, as always, captures the vision and realm of dreaming and space Tausig takes you to with his musical art.
If you're old enough to remember hearing your first Hendrix album, you will be pleasantly surprised to hear Tausig's music, which, like Hendrix, challenges and amazes you at the same time. Tausig adds layers of keyboards to his experimental guitar work and brings along a bass which sounds like a Chris Squire whip, punctuating each section of his mini symphonies.
From the Aquarius Intro, opening, you know you are in for more than a musical adventure. By the end of this masterpiece you may agree with me that even the guitar master Hendrix, may have felt this was an experience. This 1:29 minute female narrated opening welcomes you to the experience with, "From the planet Uranus, this is your cosmic weather report for Aquarius. Greetings intrepid explorers, this is your time, visionaries, radicals, rebels and challengers of the status quo…" Enough said. Get ready for a journey of inner and outer space.
Uranus, opens with the slow thud of drums, soft floating flute, chanting, and windblown keys surrounding the tranquil soundscape. Then the melody and rhythm pick up the beat as the power bass chords chime in their tempo. The lead guitar chords arch over the permeating rhythm as soft pillows of keyboards sooth in-between. The experience has begun. Relax and close your eyes.
Spacey keys and pounding drums, mixed well with heavy guitar chords greet the opening of The Eleventh Hour. On this track the intensity begins to reach peak performance. Play this one loud in the car and you feel like you are in the room with Tausig, watching his consternation, as he attempts to bring the magical visions, ideas and sounds from his mind to fruition. Tausig meticulously brings that sound and the angst to this recording, just like the guitar legend mentioned above. Tausig knows how to take the listener along for the intense experience.
Water Bearer slows things down with some soft keys, more warm flute, and multi – layered guitar rhythms, supplemented with that punctuating bass. The guitar work is magical, as is the percussion floating around the soundscape, in-between the wonderful rhythms of the banks of keyboards. There is so much going on that the multi-layered effects could take months to fully appreciate. Each song is, as I said earlier a mini – symphony of sound.
With a name like Amethyst, I knew this one would be special. After a wonderful keyboard intro, the heavy guitar and pulsating bass are back to pound a rhythm that supports the wonderful Gothic arches of guitar chords. Every minute offers new sounds and musical images.
The Revolutionist sounds like a bullet train rushing towards you at supersonic speed, with chimes in tow. Imagine that vision. Then the power bass and Brian May - like guitar reflections. But then things take an even harder/edgier tilt with those layers of keys flowing between like a fast moving river. Tausig slows things down, so he can squeeze out some incredible layers of guitar magic, while a symphonic Wind and Wuthering, then haunting Soon – like keys filling the background soundscape.
Mystic Crystal Revelations. With a name like that you know it's gonna be good! Yes, Tausig brings the magic of "Hair" back. But this is not your father or mother's 5th Dimension track. No, this goes off in a new space – age direction meant to blow your ever living mind! Full of horns, wind chimes, buzzing guitars and keys, flutes, and that ever present and soothing bass. Consider your mind…blown.
Do No Harm opens with some very cool, almost Emerson – like keys. Certainly must be inspired by Keith. The accompanying drums work up a good Tarkus like march. The bass work is special on this track, but it does not supplant the incredible buzz of the lead electric chords. Yeh, the chords play nice and weave their way through your ears without much resistance. In one of the longest tracks on the album you even get to hear what sounds like a tip of the hat to another bass master and his band – Rush.
Ocean of Emotion opens with horns, cymbals, bleeding and buzzing guitar, jazzy bass, and keys that take you directly to a musician's vision of, well maybe an ocean on some distant planet. You can feel the slow countdown to blastoff as the buzzing guitars intermingle perfectly with the chimes, percussion, keys and Crimson – like bass. Add in some spicy background effects from The Age of Aquarius and maybe some 2001 A Space Odyssey, and you get quite a nice mix.
The Purple Ray of Aquarius is full of spacey keys and equally spacey guitar. The foreboding guitar, keys and bass bring a new direction to the track as the action steps up a notch. Then we're off on a cool guitar and keyboard journey with accompanying echo-choir surroundings.
Parallel Lines races forward and brings the Rush – like momentum back. The keys and guitar do an excellent job of gyrating the sound as the cymbals add dramatic effect.
Hope for the Future is full of positive vibrations as it opens with soft, magical flute and wispy waves of keys intermingling with guitar and the soft choir – like vocal – key effects in the background.
The Bending of Light opens with slow bass and heavy grinding lead electric guitar which floats in and out, before some of the best spacey keyboards soar through the middle of the soundscape. This is the second longest track on the album and it is full of experimental guitar and definitely some of the best keyboard work on the album.
Overflow is full of more amazing rhythms, bass, lead electric and some of the best drum and percussion work on the album. Great way to close an album, mastering all of the elements and instruments.
1. Aquarius Intro
3. The Eleventh Hour
4. Water Bearer
6. The Revolutionist
7. Mystic Crystal Revelations
8. Do No Harm
9. Ocean of Emotion
10. The Purple ray of Aquarius
11. Parallel Lines
12. Hope for the Future
13. The Bending of Light
Added: March 10th 2012
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: JayTausig.com
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