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Taylor's Universe: Oyster's Apprentice

Robin Taylor returns to us once again, this time with his Universe project. This project tends to focus on Robin's compositional skills but not in a "free" setting nor with Mr Taylor playing all instruments, as on his "Robin Taylor" recordings. Oyster's Apprentice is a surprisingly good disc that features Taylor compositions dating as far back as 1976 and as recent as 2005.

The disc opens with the very calypso-like Ghost Reporters from 2005 and closes with the epilogue to that number, the hauntingly beautiful The Arrangement. Robin and his right-hand man Karsten Vogel (alto and soprano sax, bass clarinet) lead us through a time-warp of Robin's songs. I don't know if these were all dead-letter office numbers that Mr Taylor just dusted off, but all are very interesting pieces and showcase many facets to the man's approach to music writing. As well as playing guitar, Robin also pulls out some of his favorite musical toys on this one such as piano, baby piano, harmonium, and one of his favorites, the Stringman. He even plays a little soprano recorder on "Vue (Time Bolero)". Unlike his Free Universe material, which , by and large ,was played and recorded as one live take, Oyster's Apprentice has a much more subdued feel to it. Robin seems to be aiming more towards moods and tones rather than chops.

Solid from cover to cover, Oyster's Apprentice may be my favorite of the Robin Taylor discs that I've been exposed to. It may also contain some of the proggiest numbers I've heard from the man and may, hopefully, expose his music to a new audience. Recommended.

Track Listing:

  1. Ghost reporters (5:33)
  2. That Strange Plaza (6:59)
  3. Joe Hill's Recorder (1:24)
  4. Lost Title (4:41)
  5. Vue (Time Bolero) (6:25)
  6. Aiolos (5:03)
  7. Iron Wood (6:10)
  8. The Arrangement (5:21)

Added: October 1st 2005
Reviewer: Yves Dubé
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Hits: 2576
Language: english

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