gregory taylor | dua_belas
dua_belas' title — Indonesian for “the twelve” — and tracknames hints at what awaits within before even the first moment that separates it from silence: imagined territories of otherness. Although Gregory Taylor returns to the tunings and reticulated surfaces that marked his first Palace of Lights release Amalgam: Aluminum / Hydrogen, this collection live and studio work constitutes varied interwoven vignettes that describe a new and different landscape altogether — a postcolonial steampunk orchestra of the Royal Courts whose graceful retinue of real/virtual/analog/digital synthesizers accompany a shadow play of appropriated tales that shimmer, grind, twist and morph in the humming air.
An exotic Fourth World dimension is also sometimes evident on Gregory Taylor’s dua_belas (Indonesian for “the twelve”), which the producer created using Max/ MSP and “soft/hard analog/digital synthesis.” Vistas of natural and virtual exotic sounds play off one another—an organ-centric drone here (“Simon_petrus”), grinding pulsations and textures there (“Yakobus_anak_zebedeus”)—in twelve shape-shifting live and studio recordings. “Andreas” initiates the album with a vibrant and energized setting that exudes the forward momentum of a Steve Reich Ensemble piece—not surprisingly, given the metronomic percussion patterns that drive Taylor’s piece so forcefully. Percussive pitter-patter also lends the later “Yohanes_anak_zebedeus” a similar train-like propulsion. While Taylor’s pieces don’t lock themselves into systems music formations, there does nevertheless appear to be a structural shape underpinning some of the album’s pieces. Many of the tracks are restrained in character, such as the tranquil gamelan setting “Filipus_yang_melit” and the softly pulsating “Simon_si_patriot.” In addition, “Matius” intersperses the tinkle of keyboard patterns with the loud exhalation of gaseous washes, and “Anak_kembar_tomas” mixes the gentle swirl of electronic wisps with subtle percussive accents. There’s a hermetic quality to some pieces (e.g., “Yudas_anak_alpheus”) on Taylor’s understated collection that makes them sound like after-hours exercises worked out in the studio.