Jakob Skøtt: Taurus Rising
Just as he did for his second album Amor Fati (Love of Fate), Causa Sui skinsmith Jakob Skøtt recorded all of the drums for Taurus Rising live in a single afternoon session, and consequently the new collection, like its predecessor, benefits from a powerful live feel (given the complementary character of the two recordings, it makes sense that the new album is being issued not only in vinyl and digital formats but in a two-CD package that includes Amor Fati).
Skøtt's the ideal drummer for the high-energy, synthesizer-heavy instrumentals featured on the album. He's no slouch in the chops department—how could it be otherwise when you're helming the Causa Sui drum chair—but his technique is not so refined that the visceral rawness of the unschooled drummer has vanished from his playing.
The material, most of it pitched at a feverish level, explores a number of stylistic zones in arrangements beefed up with hefty amounts of synthesizers, electronics, and percussion. “Escape From the Keep” opens the album on a high note with six minutes of muscular drumming and analogue synthesizer blaze, and one comes away from the cut feeling as if some form of krautrock nirvana has been reached in the track's epic mix of punchy groovesmithing, pummeling fills, and whooshing synthesizer arpeggios. Like some tripped-out Parliament-Funkadelic spawn, “Sangue Verde” shifts the focus from krautrock to funk, with Skøtt laying out a loose funk groove liberally dosed with fuzzed-out electronic sputter. But if one track had to be chosen as the one most representative of the project, it would probably be “Bucket Brigades,” a freewheeling krautrock jam whose hot-wired pulse rolls along with joyous abandon for ten wide-eyed minutes.
Like many of the releases issued on El Paraiso, the thirty-eight-minute set appears to have been fashioned with the twelve-inch in mind, as its five tracks naturally split themselves into two side-long groupings, and Taurus Rising, like Amor Fati, again demonstrates that Skøtt has abilities that extend far beyond powering a rhythm section. (Note that El Paraiso Records has made Taurus Rising available in two formats: as a stand-alone vinyl release and as a 2-CD package that includes both Taurus Rising and Amor Fati.)