Way back in March of this year, amongst one of the coldest and harshest Midwestern winters in recent memory I happened across this guy named Jakob Skott. He’s the co-founder and drummer of the Danish psych band Causa Sui. Not only that, but he’s the co-founder of El Paraiso Records, the record company that puts Causa Sui’s albums. Not only that, but the guy puts out amazing synth-driven, neo-futuristic records under his own name. Now, back to that harsh, cold Midwestern March. Skott released his second solo record called Amor Fati. It’s a buzzing, and frequently exhilarating listening experience filled with both hazy and jagged analog synth mixed with a cocktail of Keith Moon and Tony Williams drum-strutting. It’s an all instrumental album that seamlessly takes us on a post-apocalyptic musical journey. It’s one of the best albums of the year. Keeping his musical mojo going, Skott returned to the studio back in the summer and recorded yet another stunner of a record called Taurus Rising. While not the musical journey its predecessor was, Taurus Rising makes up for lack of narrative with serious groove and feel.
“Escape From The Keep” starts with bubbling synth, creating a tension that comes to fruition when Skott busts open the speakers with his constantly moving groove on the drums. It’s a different sound than we heard on Amor Fati. While that album had plenty of rhythm and groove, it was more about creating an atmosphere; a musical narrative telling some sci-fi tale. “Escape From The Deep” is a more visceral trip entirely. Skott distinguishes himself from the other synth-driven artists with this. He doesn’t want to let you float off into space. He wants to pull you back into the ship for the rough ride back into the atmosphere. “Sangue Verde” is pure, skronky space funk. It’s landing on some intergalactic beach and finding the natives in the middle of some freaky, sweaty procession. This track is very much in the vein of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters. It’s “Watermelon Man” in outer space, baby. Or Bernie Worrell freaking the hell out with Stewart Copeland. “Pleiades” almost has a triumphant feel to it. The synths build over some great drum fills into a huge crescendo. It feels like crossing the finish line, or gleaming the proverbial cube. “Buckets Brigade” is a ten minute opus that’s part hopped-up Tangerine Dream and Zombi without all the pretense and overzealous synth noodling. It’s cool, calculated, and slick as hell. Closing track “Taurus Ascendant” harkens back to Skott’s solo debut album Doppler, with it’s flittering electronics and wavering feeling like your floating through space. Then, Skott’s drums kick in and the song truly begins ascending. It’s a quite wonderful ending to another wonderful album by Jakob Skott.
It’s not often an artist can put out two truly great albums in one year. Sure it happens, but it’s not the norm. When you’re an artist like Jakob Skott, you gotta keep the musical mojo flowing. Taurus Rising is an excellent continuation of the musical journey he started with Amor Fati. Tight, groove-filled, and rhythms that’ll make you shake your interstellar booty, this is a great companion piece to an already great musical run in 2014.
8.2 out of 10