Taylor's Universe | Artificial Joy

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Rock: Progressive Rock Rock: Instrumental Rock Moods: Type: Experimental
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Artificial Joy

by Taylor's Universe

Album no. 10 from highly acclaimed Danish Progressive Jazz/Rock group, Taylor's Universe.
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Work
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4:41 album only
2. Artificial Joy
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4:25 album only
3. Days Run Like Horses
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7:02 album only
4. Atmosfear
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7:04 album only
5. Laughter
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7:01 album only
6. Telephone
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4:59 album only
7. Fame
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9:44 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"This is one of the best bands active today in contemporary progressive rock. Try it, you won't regret it, particularly for fans of recent KC albums, avant garde and jazz fusion." PROGGNOSIS

"Robin is very much a composer, a bandleader and arranger, who has a vision for each album and yet again this is one that is well worth discovering." SILHOBBIT

"Danish composer and multi-instrumentalist Robin Taylor is one of the hardest working progressive rockers in the business. Enjoyable and not overwrought, Taylor acutely blends his technically minded musicianship values with an entertaining outlook on this persuasive studio date." ALL ABOUT JAZZ

"If you are a fan of progressive music, I most highly recommend you find Taylor's Universe on CDBaby.com and order this album." WILDMAN STEVE

"Robin Taylor has become quite a prolific musical artist and the quality of the music continues to be at the highest level. He's one of those guys that is overflowing with music. But then don't take my word for it, I'm already a big fan. Check out Artificial Joy for yourself; I don't think you'll be disappointed." JERRY LUCKY

"Artificial Joy is yet another jewel in the crown." SEA OF TRANQUILITY

"After the course of fifteen or so albums I have listened to, I can't say that I have found a naff one in the bunch. Certainly there are ones that don't hit quite as hard, but in general, his compositions are always strong, and his choice of players is always spot on." BILL'S PROG BLOG

"Artificial Joy is a skilful and enjoyable blend of very melodic and more exploratory rock-jazz fusion. Enjoy!"
DUTCH PROGRESSIVE ROCK PAGES


Reviews


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Scott Heller

Taylor's Universe: Artificial Joy
Taylor’s Universe is back with a new CD. It features a very similar line up to the last one, including Michael Denner guesting on two tracks (4 and 7). As with most of Taylor’s works, they are designed with specific themes in mind, with the different instruments all coming in and out to play their specific role in the tracks. Well planned and perfectly executed. Anyway, some of the tracks remind me of early 70’s Canterbury stuff.

"Work" opens the CD with some piano before everything changes and a short little progressive keyboard break leads into a more mysterious section, which leads into the main clarinet and tenor sax playing. Great track. "Artificial Joy" takes me back to 1971 and the Canterbury scene. Great arrangement with fantastic sax and keyboards. "Days run like Horses" is a bit darker with a lot of cool elements in the mix, if you listen closely. This one slowly builds up but then when you think it is fading away to end around 4 mins, it just spaces out for a bit before returning to the theme. Great. "Atmosfear" returns with a happier glow and features Michael Denner on lead guitar and he bursts in and out between the sax and clarinet bits. "Laughter" is a cool track that is almost dreamy at the end, with a spoken word part in the middle by Louise Nipper. Taylor plays some really nice organ on this track as well. Finn Olafsson plays a nice guitar solo at the end. "Telephone", features amazing sax playing and I really like the beginning with the telephone tone and who the keys melt into it. The CD ends with "Fame" and this one again features Denner on the lead guitar in several different short solos. The slow brooding track has many elements balancing both the mood and the playing. A fantastic CD and as it says in the booklet, “for maximum effect, Play it Loud!” and I totally agree…

Glenn Astarita/ All About Jazz

Taylor's Universe: Artificial Joy
Danish composer and multi-instrumentalist Robin Taylor is one of the hardest working progressive rockers in the business. Based on the strength of his rapidly growing discography and forthright intentions, his Taylor's Universe band features some longtime collaborators, despite occasional personnel shifts. Artificial Joy remains consistent with his penchant for imbuing knotty deviations on top of burgeoning pulses, such as the resonating "Work," that resembles the massive keys-sax assault, executed by prog favorite Van Der Graaf Generator.

Taylor's music gushes forth with exultant themes, accelerated by massive backbeats, thick keyboard treatments and climatic storylines. Reedmen Jakob Mygind and Carsten Sindvald shade the program with blustery solos, where the band fuses classic 1970s prog with a nouveau uplift. Taylor, unlike many others, doesn't abuse the 80-minute data space contained within the CD format; his albums generally hover within the 40-minute range standardized during the vinyl era, minimizing filler material.

With howling blitzkriegs tempered by harmonious hooks and riffs, Taylor generates an expansive framework via his dense and multihued keyboard voicings. On "Laughter," he commences with a bell-tone electric piano ostinato along with dreamy sax parts, directing the musicians toward both a steady blues motif and Louise Nipper's tongue-in-cheek vocals. They close it out, on "Fame," with an ominously arranged ascension not unlike climbing a staircase. Enjoyable and not overwrought, Taylor acutely blends hid technically minded musicianship values with an entertaining outlook on this persuasive studio date.

Dave Wayne/JazzReview

Taylor's Universe: Artificial Joy
“Artificial Joy” continues Danish guitarist, keyboardist, composer, and arranger Robin Taylor's success at crafting tasty, memorable, and highly enjoyable instrumental music that straddles the boundary between progressive rock and jazz-rock fusion. Since the departure of ace saxophonist Carsten Vogel, Taylor's music has been hewing more and more towards the progressive rock end of the spectrum, which seems natural in light of Taylor's penchant for really big drum sounds, grand themes, shredding proto-metal guitars, and Baroque-sounding keyboard progressions. Taylor's compositions, while not overly busy, always come across as too substantial to serve merely as backgrounds to a succession of guitar and saxophone solos. Yet, the jazz side of Taylor's sensibility is still strong. For one thing, Taylor really believes in the saxophone as a lead instrument, and the duo of Carsten Sindvald and Jakob Mygind contribute major melodic and improvisational content to “Artificial Joy.” Taylor's inner jazzman also seems to keep the prog and rock influences in check, guaranteeing that his music's intrinsically sly humor always shines through.

Taylor's music bounces around quite a bit, stylistically, throughout “Artificial Joy.” The CD's opener, 'Work' is typical – a dark, foreboding chord progression is maintained by Taylor's various keyboards as the tune twists and turns through several rhythmic and textural variations. The title track is a bouncy anthem with massive rocking slabs of Finn Olafsson's lead guitar and Taylor's surging Hammond organ alternating with slightly mellower, almost-funky sections featuring Mygind's burry, Brecker-ish tenor sax. Even though it starts off with over a minute of doom-laden electronics and backwards-masked effects, 'Days Run Like Horses' is the most fusion-y thing Taylor's recorded with this band in years, and features an uncharacteristically long, electronically-enhanced tenor sax solo. The lovely, ballad-like beginning to 'Laughter' gives absolutely no clue to the content of the rest of the tune – a macabre, open-ended spoken word piece that is the aural equivalent of a classic Hitchcock movie. Taylor's trademark tuneful, hooky prog-rock dominates on 'Atmosfear' and 'Telephone,' while 'Fame' has a pervasively dark, almost Gothic, feel to it. The latter tune also features some particularly outstanding guitar work by Mercyful Fate axe-man Michael Denner. All in all, “Artificial Joy” is yet another strong and stimulating recording from Taylor's Universe.