Marvel Of Beauty 2017
Chasing the definitive verve of decade vintage, art-rock veteran captures elusive moments for posterity.
It was easy to assume that "From Scratch" rebooted Robin Taylor’s inspiration and gave his group a new start – and indeed, it did; it also boosted the Danish multi-instrumentalist’s imagination to an extent where he decided to look back at a quartet of 2007 pieces and take them, ten years down the line, to the possible limit of original – yet then unreachable – intent. The album’s title implying process rather than result may be the key to this effort’s result, with much more fierce approach bringing the current band’s experimental angle to the fore and rendering the four epics lean if emotionally saturated.
That’s why, given an instant influx of fresh ideas instead of dwelling on its initial shimmer, “Mean Attack” would spring to life in quantum leaps and wrap the tune’s cosmic meander in guitar weave and sax stacks, making the ensemble’s vortex inescapable in terms of focus and pull as snippets of Balkan jazz are fed into prog idiom to come out triumphantly and land on a soulful terrain. Once there, the sunlit, limpid texture finds “Definitely Greek (He Said)” fluttering to the jive of Arcadian vocalise and John Sund’s acoustic strum before Jakob Mygind’s brass licks lift up the melody and pass the adventurous move to electric riffs and Taylor’s synthesizers, while the many-layered, mirage-like “Remembering Johannesburg” is unfolding vibrant fusion in front of exotica-struck listener. The shimmer is back, and menacingly so, for “Dark Side Of Alec” where interplay’s tentative serenity has intense air to it, the vertiginous series of solos blowing space cobwebs away to leave the sense of a slightly flawed ideal being displayed.
Embracing the absolute may be futile but not trying to is criminal, and this group’s attempt at perfecting their gems – by glancing back to move forward – must be lauded.