A veteran Madison experimental musician plays a rare solo set. Info/tix
Madison resident Gregory Taylor has quietly built up a formidable track record in experimental music, making his own wide-ranging electronic music since the late 1970s (a time when the experimental underground relied on self-recorded cassettes) and hosting WORT's RTQE music show since the mid-'80s. In recent years, Taylor has mostly focused on software-driven synthesis in composed and improvisational collaborations, including the electroacoustic trio PGT and live performances with Madison-based percussionist Tom Hamer. But Taylor's latest project, the 2018 album Randstad, finds him retreating into a solo setting, and this show will be his first local solo gig in a long time.
Taylor began making Randstad while accompanying his wife on a year-long academic sabbatical in the Netherlands. As he explained in a recent Tone Madison interview, he used only the music gear he was able to bring along for the trip, and augmented his own compositions and meticulously crafted synth patches with field recordings he took while exploring Amsterdam, Rotterdamn, Utrecht the Hague, and the surrounding area. ("Randstad" is the Dutch shorthand for the megalopolis those cities form.)
It's an album of solitary music made amid teeming life, and this creates a sense of giddy uplift rather than one of isolation. Tracks like "Alchemistische Koeling (Alchemical Refrigeration)" may have a dark tinge, but Taylor never sounds downtrodden here. In fact, much of the record is gently radiant. "Naar Kijkduin per Monorail (to Kijkduin by Monorail)" and "Verlicht door Optimisme (Teyler) (Illuminated by Optimism (Teyler))" pull together loose strands of chords and melody, mixed in with field recordings manipulated beyond recognition, delivering the texture and mystery one tends to want from ambient music, but also an unmistakably joyous momentum. Also of note on this bill is Repulse Monkey, the solo outlet of longtime experimental musician and current Mt. Horeb resident Patrick Best, whose projects have included the legendary folk/drone ensemble Pelt. —Scott Gordon