ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


Taylor's Universe - (Denmark) - Overall View


Prolusion. This Overall View is dedicated to the most part of creation of a progressive pilot to Free and other Universes, Robin Taylor and his universal crew. The Overall View on Robin's solo creation can be read by clicking >here.


- 1994 - "Taylor's Universe"
- 1996 - "Pork"
- 1998 - "Experimental Health"
- 2002 - "File Under Extreme" (as Taylor's Free Universe)
- 2003 - "On-plugged in Elsinore" (as Taylor's Free Universe)

Taylor's Universe - 1994 - "Taylor's Universe"
(57 min, "Right Tone")


Track List:

1. Entering Universe 1:58

2. Emmadusa 3:12

3. Strange Meetings 6:43

4. Secret Wedding 3:49

5. Hearing Noises & Imagining Things 4:34

6. Pulling Icon 1:51

7. Saturday Night 4:50

8. Trick Or Treat 6:03

9. Joie De Vivre 2:57

10. Flemming Junker 2:50

11. Mr. Garlic 4:37

12. Jeff's Office 5:48

13. Meetings 5:13

14. Feel 1:11

All tracks: by Taylor, except:

4 & 7: by Marsfeldt & Taylor.

Produced by Taylor.

Recorded mainly at 'Taylor's Place' studio, Denmark.

Mixed at "Soundscape" studio, Copenhagen.

Engineered by Taylor, Marsfeldt, & A. Nipper.


Robin Taylor - 

- electric, acoustic, & bass guitars;

- keyboards; additional percussion; some loops, etc 

Jan Marsfeldt - analog & digital keyboards

Mads Hansen - drums & percussion (except 4, 9, & 13)


Jakob Mygind - saxophones (on 3, 5, 7, 10, 11, & 13)

Hugh Steinmetz - trumpet (on 2, 4, 8, & 12)

Henning Plannthin - electric guitar (on 5, 7, & 9)

Henrik Andersen - electric guitar (on 3 & 8)		

Synopsis. Above all, it must be said that the first flight of Robin-and-the-crew to Taylor's Universe was very successful and, by the way, they entered it without any turbulence. Featuring varied, yet, mostly easy-tempered interplay between passages & solos of acoustic guitar, solos of synthesizer and bass, and those of drums, Entering Universe (1) is one of the two compositions on the album that are about a guitar-based Art-Rock with elements of Symphonic Art-Rock. Surprisingly, the only stylistic 'compatriot' of Entering Universe, Feel (14), is located in the very end of the album. It consists of the interplay between passages of piano and solos of slide guitar. Although both of these pieces are very good on the whole, they, along with Pulling Icon, to which I'll return a bit later, surpass any of the remaining eleven tracks on "Taylor's Universe". The stylistics of the excellent Emmadusa (2) represents an original Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Jazz-Fusion and the bits of Prog-Metal, which, though, is not of a high complexity, as well as both of the boundary tracks of the album and Pulling Icon (6). The latter of them is about a blend of Art-Rock and some old-fashioned music. A few of the solos that are present here remind me of those of hand organ. As you can see above, though, almost all of the described pieces are the shortest tracks on the album, which, in this very case, is a positive factor. Especially since all ten of the remaining compositions that, taken together, last almost 50 minutes, are outstanding. Two of them, Secret Wedding and Joie De Vivre (4 & 9), are the Classical Music-like pieces, both of which feature also the elements of somewhat of a symphonic Space Rock. A general definition of the style that the remaining eight compositions are about should, in my view, be explained this way: a highly innovative, intricate, and eclectic Art-Rock, which is both symphonic and guitar-based, with elements of Jazz-Fusion, Prog-Metal, and Avant-garde and bits of Free Jazz. However, instead of operating with bulky terms, I prefer to define any polymorphous and highly innovative manifestations of progressive music as Fifth Element, though, of course, I admit that this term is more generalized than those of the other main genres of Prog: Art-Rock, Prog-Metal, Jazz-Fusion, & RIO. So, the following eight compositions: Strange Meetings, Hearing Noises & Imagining Things, Saturday Night, Trick Or Treat, Flemming Junker, Mr. Garlic, Jeff's Office, and Meetings (3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, & 13), are the representatives of the only Progressive Rock genre that just cannot be related with anything commercial. Each of the said eight compositions represent somewhat of a journey to the world of diverse and unusual musical dimensions filled with lots of different events, which is both highly intricate and intriguing. Since both of the aforementioned Classical Music-like pieces are practically of the same story, in my view, it would've been much better if Meetings would have located on track 6, instead of Pulling Icon, and vice versa. Then all of the core compositions of "Taylor's Universe" would've been the real core of it. Though, as I said above, while both of the boundary tracks of the album aren't masterpieces, they, nevertheless, are very good compositions. In any case, the eponymous Taylor's Universe debut is very close to the status of a complete masterpiece. Next week, look for the review of Taylor's second flight to his personal Universe.

VM: January 1, 2003

Taylor's Universe - 1996 - "Pork"
(42 min, 'Marvel of Beauty')


Track List:

1. Sir Vannah 3:48 

2. Horsemen's Parade 3:20 

3. Porky Park 4:42 

4. Ghost Dance 3:10 

5. Syte-2 1:23 

6. The SOS Coincidence 4:34 

7. Hard To Realize 6:00 

8. Another Rainy Day 9:03 

9. Let's Run Away & Be Indians 6:49 

All tracks: by Taylor, except:

4: by Hansen, Marsfeldt & Taylor;

5: by Steinmetz & Taylor;

6: by Steinmetz, Marsfeldt, & Taylor;

8: by Marsfeldt & Taylor.


Robin Taylor - 

- electric & bass guitars; percussion; 

- electronics, loops, etc

Jan Marsfeldt - 

- synthesizers, organ, & piano

Mads Hansen - drums

Hugh Steinmetz - trumpet (on most tracks)

Jytte Lindberg - voice (on 1, 3, & 9)

Produced by Taylor.

Recorded mainly at 'Taylor's Place' studio, Denmark.

Mixed at "Soundscape" studio, Copenhagen.

Engineered by Taylor, A. Nipper, & Marsfeldt.

Synopsis. Well, I am already in the know (to say the least) that all of the albums ever released by Robin Taylor along with both of his (by all means) universal bands are notably different from each other. (Indeed, especially since almost all of them are of a universally free origin!) The continuous transformation of style, which, though, always remains unique and highly innovative, is undoubtedly the most significant aspect of the creation of this remarkable, yet, very underrated composer and musician. Indeed, since 1994 and up till now, Robin and the crew have released five masterpieces, none of which surpass, at least, any of the later and latest albums by such famous and serious bands as Univers Zero, Present, and many others. Nevertheless, the number of those who are familiar with Robin's music is in some ways close to zero - at least in comparison with that of those who listened and listen to both of the said legends of RIO. Though I am by no means sure that the works of Fifth Element, the genre that unites the most innovative of the contemporary progressive bands and performers, are less interesting and intricate than the works of RIO. The second Taylor's Universe album, "Pork", is both a highly complex and intriguing album that is entirely about Fifth Element and where there is nothing that would remind you of a classic Progressive. In other words, being a real classic for future, "Pork" has a new, real modern sound, which doesn't feature any of the old structural constituents that, by the way, are just excellently veiled in the music of most of the other leading acts of today's Progressive. Furthermore, "Pork" has a very modern sound despite the fact that it was for the most part performed with the traditional set of Rock instruments, among which - just for instance - the Hammond organ plays by no means a last role. The album's opening and closing compositions are the only tracks here that contain repetitions, though there are only a few of them on Let's Run Away & Be Indians (9). But although the repetitions on Sir Vannah (1) are noticeable already at the first listen, on the whole, this composition remains within the framework of the album's unified stylistics, which, as I said, is nothing else but Fifth Element (or just New Music, if you will). I can explain to you what are the genre constituents that form this stylistics, which is certainly polymorphous. Firstly however, I did it many, many times since I've begun using the term of Fifth Element back in the very beginning of new millennium. And secondly, which is central, this way I have to use all the old 'genre' cliches ("a very innovative fusion of Art-Rock, etc, raised to the power of Avant-garde music", etc, again, and over), while, frankly, I feel I just cannot do it this time - regarding "Pork". The only exact aspect of this album that I am sure of concerns the parts of trumpet - many of these parts, to be precise. So, many solos of trumpet on the album are of a jazzy rather than symphonic character. Isn't that clear? That's all, however. As for that in which I am really sure, all those who are eager to listen to a real Progressive Rock that would be not only fresh and at all points, but also both highly complex and interesting, you'll just love "Pork". The same words, though, I can say with regard to most, if not all, of the other Robin Taylor-related albums.

VM: January 7, 2003

Taylor's Universe - 1998 - "Experimental Health"
(51 min, 'Marvel of Beauty')


Track List:

1. Man On the Mountain 7:39

2. Elephant Kiss 4:33

3. Inner Space 6:06

4. Base Camp 2:14

5. Notkai 3:25

6. Milo's Dakdar 2:42

7. Kindergarten 4:33

8. Therapy 5:57

9. Charly & Juliet 4:24

10. Experimental Health 9:58

All tracks: by Robin Taylor.


Robin Taylor - guitars & bass; keyboards 

Karsten Vogel - soprano & alto saxophones

Rasmus Grosell - drums & percussion, bass (+ narration - on 4)


Jan Marsfeldt - keyboards (on a few tracks)

Kim Menzer - flute & trombone (on 2) & tenor saxophone (on 9)

Henning Plannthin - guitar solo (on 1 & 9)

Jytte Lindberg - vocalize (on 1 & 7) 

Produced by Taylor.

Engineered by Taylor & A. Nipper.  

Synopsis. As you can see above, the famous Danish musician and composer, Karsten Vogel (of Burning Red Ivanhoe, Secret Oyster, and solo fame), joined Taylor's Universe on this album. Along with the parts of drums and percussion, solos and riffs of electric and bass guitars, passages of semi-acoustic guitar and those of synthesizers, the solos of Karsten's soprano and alto saxophones play a prominent role in the arrangements throughout it. As usual, "Experimental Health" quite radically differs from any of the other albums ever created by Robin Taylor and both of his universal bands and is the most coherent among them, to say the least. Stylistically, this album is also about a real new music - a distinctive Fifth Element, though at the same time, it is much more complex than any of its predecessors, as well as Robin's solo album, "Samplicity". Perhaps, only Taylor's Free Universe's "File Under Extreme" (2002) is more complex than "Experimental Health", which, though, is due to its purely improvisational nature. The structurally spectral analysis of music, presented by Taylor's Universe on this album, shows that here, Fifth Element consists of textures that are typical for all four of the first main genres of Prog: Art-Rock, Prog-Metal, Jazz-Fusion, and RIO. Though there only the bits of RIO, as well as those of Avant-garde music, in this highly polymorphous manifestation of Fifth Element, which, yet, looks here like a real, separate and monolithic, progressive genre. Almost all of the compositions on "Experimental Health" are both highly intricate and intriguing and have also a very rich sound showing a broad specter of musical colors and shades. Contrasts, atonalities, elements of a positive hypnotism, the use of complex measures, highly innovative and truly unique rhythms, the constant development of a wide-variety of musical events, etc, again, and over. All of this is typical for eight out of ten pieces on the album. Although Robin returned to the first (quite melodic) guitar theme of Inner Space (3) once or twice, most of the other parameters of this composition are equal to those that I've listed above. Base Camp (4), featuring only the interplay between solos of electric guitar and those of a strangely sounding flute, is the only piece on the album that is about Avant-garde rather than Fifth Element. Back to the best eight compositions of the album (eight out of ten - huh?), apart from the aforementioned solos and riffs of electric and bass guitars, solos of saxophones, those of drums and percussion, and passages of synthesizers, the parts of the other instruments are sometimes notable there as well. These are the passages of acoustic guitar - on Notkai and Therapy (5 & 8), and also all the solos of real flute, those of trombone and Hammond organ - on Elephant Kiss (2). Finally, the tunes of music of the East are present on Milo's Dakdar (6). While being a highly complex album where, in addition, almost everything is in the state of a constant development, "Experimental Health" is at the same just marvelously rich in emotions, and most of the compositions on it have quite a dark, dramatic, and magical feel to them.

Conclusion. Although all five of the Robin Taylor-related albums that I've heard up till now are masterpieces, I find any of the heroes of this material a bit better than Robin's solo album, "Samplicity", and Taylor's Free Universe's "File Under Extreme". While "Experimental Health", which, overall, is the heaviest among these albums, I regard as the best of them. Of course, all of this is just the matter of taste. As for Robin Taylor and his creation as a whole, in my honest opinion, he is undoubtedly one of the most inspired, inventive, and innovative composers of the contemporary Progressive Rock movement. If you consider yourself a real connoisseur of progressive music, not to mention a ProGfessor, you shouldn't miss the opportunity to enrich your collection with such wonderful albums as those by Taylor's Universe and > Robin Taylor.

VM: January 23, 2003

Taylor's Free Universe - 2002 - "File Under Extreme"
(51 min, 'Marvel of Beauty')


Track List:

1. Germanism 7:11 (Taylor)

2. Stand Apart 0:12 (TFU)

3. Free-Bop 5:38 (Vogel)

4. More Germanism 4:22 (Taylor)

5. Age Concern 5:40 (Taylor, Segerberg, Mathiesen)

6. Less Is More 9:34 (Tassone, Taylor)

7. Evaluation 5:33 (TFU)

8. Aspects of a Myth 11:44 (Vogel)

9. Bonus Tragg 0:05 (Taylor)

All arrangements: by Taylor's Free Universe.


Robin Taylor - electric guitar; electronics 

(+ fuzz-bass on tracks 1 & 4, keyboards: on 1, 

& percussion: on 5)

Karsten Vogel - soprano, alto, & tenor saxophones

(+ keyboards: on 8)

Pierre Tassone - violin (via sound processor)

Johan Segerberg - double bass; electronics

Kalle Mathiesen - drums; sampling

Produced by Robin Taylor.

Engineered by Louise Nipper & Robin Taylor 

at "Soundscape" studio, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Mastered by Jan Eliasson at "Tocano".

Prolusion. To all appearances, "File Under Extreme" is the debut album by the internationally Danish band Taylor's Free Universe, in the line-up of which I see the name of Pierre Tassone. If you wish to read the review of Pierre's collaborative album with the Latvian violin quartet Difference, click >here.

Synopsis. I haven't reviewed the works of Progressive's Fifth Element genre for quite a while, so the arrival of the "File Under Extreme" CD just before my birthday I regard as a good sign. ("File Under Fifth Element" could've been also an appropriate title for this album.) A very unusual, yet, truly unique blend of all five of the traditionally classic genres and sub-genres of Prog: Jazz-Fusion, Art-Rock, RIO, Prog-Metal, & Space Rock, raised to the power of Avant-garde Academic Music, along with something absolutely new, is what the music on this album is about overall. Though it must be said that all the elements of these classic genres and sub-genres of Prog are actually featureless in the music of Taylor's Free Universe. Here, they're really free of their classic constituents, so the terms that I used when describing the stylistics of this album in detail should be perceived only relatively. Yes-yes, such a polymorphous and highly innovative style that lies in the basis of music presented on "File Under Extreme" must be defined as nothing else but Fifth Element. There are no any repetitions on the album, and all the musical structures of it are very, yet, positively unstable. Then, back to the classic terms, the following detailed definition of Taylor's Free Universe's music would be the best, in my view. This is a fusion of Avant-garde Academic Music and Free Jazz with elements of all five of the aforementioned Progressive Rock genres and sub-genres. Certainly, both of the bits that are presented in the track list of this CD as separate pieces: Stand Apart and Bonus Tragg (tracks 2 & 9), should be regarded just as an intro to Free-Bop (3) and the outro of the album respectively. The first of them consists of only a couple of riffs of electric & bass guitars done along with a couple of beats of drums. The last track on the album, "composed" by Tailor, features naturally only one riff of guitar with an echo. Well, in comparison with "voices of a void" (long pauses) that came into fashion in the second half of the 1990s, such funs are quite acceptable, especially since they're just a smallest part of a gem titled "File Under Extreme". The arrangements that Germanism, More Germanism, Less Is More, and Aspects of a Myth (1, 4, 6, & 8) consist of are for the most part slow, yet, at the same time incredibly diverse and wonderfully eclectic. The number of highly eclectic improvisational jams is there small in comparison with those on Age Concern, Evaluation, and Free-Bop (tracks 5, 7, & 3 respectively). Certainly, all three of these pieces, and especially Free-Bop, appear less structured than any other composition on the album. Both Age Concern and Evaluation consist of various, slow and fast, arrangements. While Free-Bop, in its entirety is covered by a really wild jam where, with the exception of 'lazy' solos and riffs of electric guitar, all the soloing parts are fast and frantic. Here, the band literally erases the border between Avant-garde Jazz, Avant-garde Academic Music, and Classic Progressive Rock, pushing all of it on and on and, finally, transforming all of it into a highly innovative, eclectic, and intensive improvisational jam. It must be said that the solos and riffs of electric guitar, unlike those of all the other instruments, are almost always slow on "File Under Extreme". Not as evident as those of saxophones, violin, and double bass, the parts of electric guitar are, however, the most unique on this album, even though they play a really prominent role only on Age Concern (5). I have never heard such an unusual and clearly innovative method of playing a guitar. Quite the contrary, the drumming is highly intensive and, often, powerful and fast even in those pieces that are basically slow. Along with uniqueness and eclecticism, effective contrasts are one of the key aspects (or trumps, if you will) of this album. I wouldn't say that there are some traditionally familiar moods on "File Under Extreme", yet, an overall atmosphere of the album is either tense or rather dark. All of this is quite typical for RIO, but I doubt that someone would be able to find here at least only one episode that would be at least more or less obviously about RIO and any of the other classic progressive genres as well.

Conclusion. Despite the fact that the musical structures of this album are very unstable and, sometimes, completely unstructured and even chaotic (they're mostly just seemingly chaotic, though), there are lots of classically essential progressive ingredients on "File Under Extreme". In fact, the continuous development of anything that is featured on this remarkable album is the main and the most exciting characteristic of it. Nevertheless, I can highly recommend this album only to those lovers of progressive music who are both very mature and adventurous.

VM. October 26, 2002

Taylor's Free Universe - 2003 - "On-plugged in Elsinore"
(65 min, 'Marvel of Beauty')



1.  Amalie 9:02 (Nielsen)

2.  Picnic at Noon 10:40 (TFU)

3.  Tight Little Waves 7:16 (Vogel)

4.  The Fifth Element 16:05 (TFU)

5.  Exit Elsinore 13:05 (Tassone, Taylor)

6.  Train 9:46 (Taylor)


Robin Taylor - guitars; electronics

Peter Friis Nielsen - electric bass

Karsten Vogel - alto saxophone

Pierre Tassone - processed violin

Kalle Mathiesen - percussion, samples, etc

Produced by Robin Taylor.

Recorded live in Elsinore, Denmark.

Engineered by T. Mikkelsen.

Prolusion. Only about a year has passed since "File Under Extreme" was released, and Taylor's Free Universe is back with a new album, the 65-minute "On-plugged in Elsinore", which, while being a 'live' album, consists exclusively of new materials.

Synopsis. "On-plugged in Elsinore" is another great example of a top-notch contemporary Progressive, and although this music is a bit farther from 'classic', completely structured and harmonious, forms than that on >"Nekropolis 23, Vol. 1", it should be comprehensible for most of the profound Prog-lovers, including 'classic' ones. This album was in its entirety created within the framework of a unified stylistics representing Fifth Element - the most unusual and polymorphous progressive genre, the essence of which is nothing else but a daring innovation. And by the way, one of the tracks here is named in full accordance with the music on it. However, the best definition of this 'on-plugged' music would probably be Mysterious Atmospheric Fifth Element consisting of avant-garde kinds of Jazz-Fusion, Space Rock, Art-Rock, and RIO with some quantity of elements of music of the East and the bits of Prog-Metal, all of which, in addition, is intermixed with magic. (All becomes simple like arithmetic after a few successive listens to any material.) The album consists of six compositions, and there are only a few differences between them, all of which concern only the combination of constituents forming Fifth Element. Jazz-Fusion, Art-Rock, and RIO prevail on Amalie (1), Jazz-Fusion and Space Rock on Picnic at Noon and Tight Little Waves (2 & 3), Space Rock on The Fifth Element and Exit Elsinore (4 & 5), and Prog-Metal, Space Rock, and Jazz-Fusion on Train (6). Please don't forget to mentally place "Avant-garde" before each of the said genres and styles when reading this and try to imagine what this album is about, which however won't be effective without hearing it. Do you think I am too keen on classification? Of course, all classifications are imprecise, especially those concerning such complex music as Fifth Element, and nevertheless, classification is what all sciences and arts are stand on; it's like Ariadne's thread for them. After all, it's impossible to use any concrete comparisons while describing music by such innovative performers as Robin Taylor. And thus, it would be very hard for me to give you an idea of the UMO (unusual music object) I tell about without using genre classifications. Finally, I must notice that the music on this album is very imaginative, and it's preferable to listen to it with headphones.

Conclusion. I believe you have guessed dear readers what I am going to say in closing. Yes, "On-plugged in Elsinore" is a mind-blowing masterpiece, and I heartily recommend it to all those who know to whom I appeal.

VM: July 25, 2003

Related Links:

Taylor's Universe


ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages