Gregory Taylor: Amalgam: Aluminum / Hyrdrogen
Palace of Lights

On Amalgam: Aluminum / Hydrogen, an unedited, improvised live performance recorded in Wisconsin, 2006, radiaL virtuoso Gregory Taylor distills synthesis, sampling, processing, and looping into a continuously flowing travelogue. Sonically, the music shines with pristine electronic gleam but, stylistically, its hypnotic, lulling rhythms and meditative episodes classify the music as gamelan in particular (testifying to Taylor 's long-standing love of the form) and non-Western in general. The album opens with the delicate “Bem,” which exudes the innocence and charm of a child's lullaby, followed by “Gulu,” where the buoyant pitter-patter of bright pops suggests dancing tabla patterns, and “Pelog,” which arrests the album's rhythmic flow for a vibrant meditation of glistening bell strikes. Taylor doesn't entirely eschew contemporary electronic music-making of the Line and 12k sort (as the lower-case glitch setting “Nem” and aggressive soundscaping outro “Barang” make clear) but, for the most part, Amalgam: Aluminum / Hydrogen attempts—successfully—an East-West, multi-temporal merger between that sounds wholly natural and convincing. On paper, ‘electronic-gamelan' may not sound like a combination that should work so naturally but, in Taylor's expert hands, it assuredly does; if anything, the ease with which the fusion is realized can lead one to overlook how deftly Taylor effects it. Notable as well is the fact that the material, while sophisticated in design and intricately layered, remains accessible throughout.

September 2007