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Art Cinema: Art Cinema

After Taylor's Universe released Soundwall in 2007, a mix of jazz and prog that featured guest metal guitarist Michael Denner from Mercyful Fate/King Diamond fame, Robin Taylor and company decided to put together the supergroup called Art Cinema. Their self-titled debut dumps most of the jazz leanings for a more melodic prog-rock flavor, something that might surprise many of the fans of Taylor and his rather diverse avant-garde back catalog. The line-up for this release is Taylor (guitars, keyboards, percussion), Denner (guitars), Jytte Lindberg (lead vocals), Louise Nipper (lead & backing vocals), Bjarne Holm (drums), Carsten Sindvald (sax), Flemming Muus Tranberg (bass), Jon Hemmersam (guitars), and Pierre Tasson (violin). Though regular Taylor bandmate Karsten Vogel is not on this one, the presence of Sindvald adds that necessary jazz-fusion element to this rather proggy affair.

Opening cut "White Frozen" features some nifty 70's styled organ passages from Taylor, as well as tasty twin leads courtesy of Denner & Hemmersam, but it's the gorgeous lead vocals of Lindberg paired with Nipper's sumptuous backing vocals that steals the show. The duo again mesmerize on the dreamy "World of Shadows", Sindvald's soaring sax lines providing the perfect foil on this melodic number. "Climb My Ladder" is a reflective pop tune, Lindberg's voice gentle and persuasive with Taylor's keyboards & Denner's acoustic guitar providing a lush and pastoral backdrop. The band goes back into prog territory on "What Am I Doing Here?", reminding somewhat of a meeting of classic Genesis, Renaissance, and The Gathering, Lindberg & Nipper nailing the beautiful vocal passages perfectly while elastic bass lines, violin, and keyboards float around the mix. At the mid-way point Sindvald breaks in with a smoky solo and then trades with both Denner and Hemmersam for a tasty exchange. The first real peek at the free-jazz and avant-garde styles that Taylor is known for comes out on "Crimson Night", a dark, spooky piece that has burst of frenzy but mostly a tranquil sense of foreboding. This leads into the quirky number "Dreaming of Metamorphosis", a Canterbury flavored tune with alluring vocals and jazz/pop instrumentation, and the CD ends with the melodic pop/prog/jazz strains of "Last Day of Summer", featuring some strong guitar solos from all three players, lush keys & sax, and breezy vocals.

It's much more laid back than most Robin Taylor releases, but for many his new band Art Cinema might just be what the doctor ordered. Moving away from the dense, avant-garde, and free jazz styles, Art Cinema seems quite adept at putting together light, melodic pop with just enough prog influence and a touch of jazz for a sound that has plenty of mainstream appeal.

Track Listing
1 White Frozen
2 World of Shadows
3 Climb My Ladder
4 What Am I Doing Here?
5 Crimson Night
6 Dreaming of Metamorphosis
7 Las Day of Summer

Added: May 11th 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Robin Taylor Website
Hits: 1932
Language: english

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Art Cinema: Art Cinema
Posted by Alex Torres, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-05-11 10:57:46
My Score:

I've still a lit to learn about Robin Taylor's music; this album being only the second of his many endeavours that I've picked up on. Last year's Isle of Black was my introduction and you may remember that I enjoyed that CD up to a point, awarding it three and a half stars, but was disappointed by the lack of "cohesiveness" of the disc and puzzled as to its duration - not even an old long player's worth.

Art Cinema, the eponymousy titled disc of his Art Cinema project, is an altogether more enjoyable experience. The sonic ingredients are very similar: guitars; bass; keyboards (grand piano, Hammond M100, M-tron - lush! don't you just love the mellotron sound? - Crumar Stringman, Roland Jx8P & Jv2080, Yamaha Portasound, Harmonium); saxes; glockenspiel; violin; drums. However, the effect is altogether different because the single most important change is the introduction of sung vocals from Jytte Lindberg and Louise Nipper. The soundscape is transformed, not just by the compositional discipline required to allow the ladies to sing melodically, but also because their singing is beautiful, very ethereal in feel. Together with the album's low tempo, the orchestration and the vocals lend it an air of seductive ambient music. An ambient-jazz-psychedelic fusion perhaps, I'm not too sure, the jazzy element is very light.

Jynette's voice is very powerful: it reminds me of the pop singer Anastacia; but in this music Jynette sings with much more control and precision; there's plenty of meaty guitar being played here too, but it is subdued in the mix so that the music is never allowed to become heavy or lose its ambient appeal, "Last Day of Summer" being a good example. "What Am I Doing Here?" is probably the pick of the lot due to its glorious instrumental section and orchestration, complemented by the other-worldly singing.

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