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Taylor's Free Universe: Family Shot

On this first "live" [in-the-studio] document by Taylor's Free Universe, your humblest of dinghies will navigate the voluminous waterbody that is avant*jazz and negotiate its fierce modal rapids, brave its unrelenting odd time stormwinds, and evade the omnipresent lightning bolts that are accidentals. No leisurely journey is this, for there are no roses without thorns, no spoils without blood and sweat.

Family Shot is flatly a journey numerous travelers will undertake, and one that most may not finish. Recorded last November by guitarist Robin (the Taylor in TFU) and violinist Pierre Tassone, bassist Peter Friis Nielsen, drummer Lars Juul, and (replacing Karsten Vogel) Kim Menzer on clarinet, trombone and "strange" flute, the half-dozen improvisations capture a starkly primal array of tonal distillates—mostly colors jagged and rough. Any given phrase or motif is inverted and bisected, its components subsequently shuffled like a bicycle card deck for "rebroadcast" (though many of these instances slip away and are "sighted" after the fact). The result can be a rainbow or an impromptu blast of cacophonic specks akin to paint splatter. Let the listener be the judge.

It begins surprisingly with the smooth incline of "M'fisto Rubberphunk." The title resembles a Luca$film character (were he a deejay or rapper), but the Spartan scheme of "M'fisto" is its trump card; only in the final third does any type of intensity form, and only then because the instruments refuse to charge headlong. "Angel Stairs" reprises the same mentality but should have been assimilated as it could be mistaken for a leftover. Things gravitate toward the quixotic from there on in; Nine Nice 'n' Easy Pieces is suggestively Thrakian but is plainly a bunch of snippets that comprise one large, semichaotic track with buoyant bass licks, independent drum lines, truant sax squeals and the electric asides of Tassone's violin and Taylor's guitar. Oh, and index points. The impression forms that the lurking monster in the group is probably Nielsen, but the mix doesn't do his bass justice.

The final twenty-five minutes are spread over three tracks; "Like A Nervous Car Wreck" is moderately Gunn-ish; Nielsen's walking bass line lends some character. The mini-epic "Z Return" is the culmination of all that has transpired before it, which may make it a little easy for some to leave or take. Let the listener you-know-what; let the Free Universe spirit you away and drop you just beyond familiar music's termination point.


1. Strategy 2:26
2. M'fist Rubberphunk 15:09
3. Angel Stairs 3:37

Nine Nice 'n' Easy Pieces

  • 4. First Piece 0:23
  • 5. Second Piece 0:20
  • 6. Third Piece 0:20
  • 7. Fourth Piece 0:31
  • 8. Fifth Piece 0:40
  • 9. Sixth Piece 1:12
  • 10. Seventh Piece 0:48
  • 11. Eighth Piece 1:36
  • 12. Nine Piece 3:55

    13. Like A Nervous Car Wreck 4:05
    14. The Elephant Cure 7:19
    15. Z Return 13:05

    Total time – 55:41
  • Added: April 6th 2005
    Reviewer: Elias Granillo
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    Hits: 4021
    Language: english

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