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Taylor's Free Universe (Denmark) - "9 Eleven: Live at Copenhagen Jazz House"
(2CD, 'Marvel of Beauty')

Prolusion. The mighty Taylor's Free Universe is back. Indeed they're back again - with their third output "9 Eleven" - only 9 months after their brilliant "On-plugged in Elsinore" and 18 months after their glorious debut. With the exception of Free-Bop (track 3 on the first disc), this double CD album consists exclusively of the band's new recordings.

CD 1 (46 min)


1.  Phantom Power 9:15 (TFU)
2.  A Serious Offer 7:27 (Taylor)
3.  Free-Bop 10:12 (Vogel)
4.  Marion Crane 9:16 (Segerberg, Taylor)
5.  Sindal Mornings 9:00 (TFU)


Robin Taylor - guitars; electronics
Pierre Tassone - violin; electronics
Karsten Vogel - saxophones
Johan Segerberg - basses; electronics
Kalle Mathiesen - drums; electronics

Produced by O. Mathiesen.
Engineered by L. Palsig. 

Synopsis. Not resting on their laurels like many other contemporary bands, Taylor's Free Universe continues to progress and develop their principal musical direction, which is certainly Fifth Element with its really endless potential for exploration. While the first three tracks are stylistically similar to those on the previous albums, the other two show the band reaching beyond and conquering new territory. So, constantly developing, highly diverse and contrasting (by tempo, mood, etc) interplay between all the instruments involved, dissonant chords, and multi-layered interlocking patterns are typical for Phantom Power, A Serious Offer, and Free-Bop. Among the perceptible constituents of the style are still Space Rock, Free Jazz (the department of sax), Space Fusion, Avant-garde, and Space Metal, though the latter isn't available on A Serious Offer. Free-Bop is more diverse than its original version, which is just filled with high-speed jams, and sounds vastly different from it in general. By the way, one of the violin themes here evokes distinct associations with the music of the East. Like in the case of the other TFU albums, all the tracks on "9 Eleven" are completely improvised, and yet, they either contain parts that sound like being thoroughly composed or, like Marion Crane and Sindal Mornings (4 & 5), sound so in their entirety. These two consist of extremely unique arrangements, which, however, develop rather logically even from a classic progressive standpoint, and, thus, should be comprehensible for any experienced Prog-lover. Unlike the other tracks on the first disc, Marion Crane, and especially Sindal Mornings, which sounds just like the Martian requiem, are basically slow, dark, and dramatic. There are some parts that are played, I'd say, incredibly slowly. You have to have an open mind and a really brave heart to endure them. But if you get into these, both highly complex and imaginative, full of unearthly psychedelics and hypnotism things, you'll get a fantastically impressive picture. This is a dream of any true surrealist and mystic that believes that the world isn't limited by what we can see with our eyes. The ears are also very important instruments to percept the world, especially its invisible part. After all, music has been given to humanity not without purpose.

VM: March 25, 2004

CD 2 (47 min)


6.  Boom 6:55 (TFU)
7.  Texas Flangers 10:15 (Taylor)
8.  Sub-Language 6:26 (Tassone, Taylor)
9.  Peacock 6:14 (Mathiesen, Segerberg, Vogel)
10. In the Spirit of 17:11 (TFU)

Synopsis. The contents of the second CD are compositionally a bit more uniform than those of the first disc. But while Fifth Element rules almost everywhere on CD 2, too, only one composition here: In the Spirit of (10) is in the spirit of the band's principal direction, represented on the first three tracks of the album. Brilliant work. Boom (6) is structurally less consistent than any other composition here. This blend of Free Jazz and Avant-garde, where there are only elements of (Robin's unique) Space Rock & Metal, consists mostly of randomly played solos and has a spontaneous rather than an eclectic feel to it. Even a profound Prog head may comment such a kind of joint improvisation as "It sounds like they just tune their instruments". The authors of the remaining three tracks set the mood (or the pitch, which is the same in this case) on each of them, respectively. Texas Flangers (7) features a wide variety of incredibly unique guitar solos, riffs, and sounds, some of which remind me of dripping drops, including those that became 'frozen' just before they fall, while some are completely indescribable. The parts of the other instruments are also outstandingly unusual, though a rather long drum solo, done out of the context of joint arrangements, is unnecessary here. This very slow substance (rather, world) is full of undiscovered mysteries. A rich imagination will be of help to any pilot to this dimension where all the traditional music laws seem to be broken or, rather, they don't work here the way they seemingly should, being transformed into something new. Before you fly, though, you should be certain that the approach to zero is as endless as that to infinity. Of course, a violin is mostly at the helm on the eighth track, which is practically as innovative, hypnotic and imaginative as the previous composition. Apart from traditional ones, Sub-Language features some sub-constituents of the band's primary style, namely Folk and Classical music. The rather melodious and cohesive sax and bass lines on Peacock (9) often clash with 'unruly' drums, while Robin's both very slow and elongated guitar solos exist as if being laid back from all the surrounding events.

Conclusion. Just like it had place in the heyday of Progressive's glory, Robin Taylor & Co released five albums in the last three years, and what is more, the sixth one is coming soon. There are too few contemporary progressive bands that would also be able to produce albums as frequently as this unique Danish outfit does. Please also note that they create at least one masterpiece a year, and they do it year by year. As for the hero of this review, it gets as high a recommendation as all of the other Taylor's Free Universe and Taylor's Universe albums, as well as most of Robin's solo efforts. The reviews of all of them, can be read by clicking >here, and >here.

VM: March 26, 2004

Related Links:

>Taylor's Free Universe


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