Danish multi-instrumentalist Robin Taylor should be no stranger to regular readers of Sea of Tranquility. Whether it be with his many version of the Taylor's Free Universe or his own solo records, Robin Taylor is a pretty prolific guy as far as getting his musical vision out to the world. The last few years has seen him unearthing quite a lot of material from his vaults, and this one, Edge of Darkness, was originally recorded back in 1983, with some touch-ups and additions thrown into it in 2000. Joining Robin on this album is sax player Karsten Vogel(ex-Secret Oyster and current Taylor's Free Universe), Hugh Steinmetz on trumpet, drummer Peter Bruun, pianist Carsten Dahl, and Jan Fischer on farfisa organ, harmonica, and percussion.
Overall, this is pretty eerie and avant-garde stuff, more squarely in the free-jazz realm than progressive rock, but there are elements of that as well. Taylor uses an assortment of instruments to get an amalgam of strange and offbeat sounds, like processed guitar, bass, glockenspiel, Hammond organ, tape loops, percussion, electronics, and plenty of household gadgets and appliances. No synthesizers were used in the recording of this album according to the liner notes. Tracks like "The Celler" and "At Least One Beautiful Note" contain plenty of electronic noodling, ominous sax blasts, and nimble drumming. The creepy and monolithic guitar and bass rumbles of "Likewise" and "Painters in the Night" really push the boundaries of prog and avant-garde, and will instantly appeal to listeners of music from the ECM and ReR labels. Want it darker? Check out "Even Darker", a haunting and ominous piece of music, with squealing sax and trumpet off in the distance while what I can only imagine is distorted volume swells on the guitar or bass creating huge waves of terrifying ondulating sounds."Twilight" features some jazzy drum fills from Bruun and Dahl's majestic piano over an assortment of noises from Taylor, and "Nightmare Paint-Mark Y" is a caustic and dissonant exercise in rock and free jazz complete with deep rumbling bass grooves and scorching torrents of electric guitar and electronics. Prog fans will love the epic "Edge of Darkness/Nightscape", a 17-minute long piece bubbling with all sorts of adventurous and avant-garde experimentation.
Edge of Darkness might have been recorded over 20 years ago, but it ultimately is one of Robin Taylor's more enjoyable solo releases. Here, he and his guests combined an assortment of musical styles with dissonant themes that really worked well. Recommended.
1. At Least One Beautiful Note
2. Nightmare Paint - Mark X
4. Painters in the Night
5. The Cellar
6. Even Darker
7. Now What?
8. Question Mark
10. Nightmare Paint - Mark Y
11. Edge of Darkness/Nightscape