Taylor Abrahamse – Music From The Abravault – Site/Music Review
Soooooooo…yeahhhh…there’s no easy way to go about this review…bear with me on this one. I’ve gotten ahold of music from Taylor Abrahamse…and by that I mean, I’ve been having a sample of virtually everything I’ve been able to put my headphones around. It’s about as widespread of a collection as you could possibly get…and Taylor seems to be the never-endingly creative-type…not even kidding when I say that I could easily be here until this time next week if I was to try to review this guy’s whole catalog.
I’ve sampled through an audible TON of his music at this point…and more than likely unfortunately for him – I’ve found we actually have an incredible amount in common. We certainly can’t be switched-off…both of our collections and catalogs of music speak to that and the fact that we’re both proud of our ability to be free within music to experiment in every which-way we choose. And like myself, or like anything experimentally-based in its nature – there are triumphs, there are spots that fall flat under the weight of their ambitions and ideas…there are highs and there are lows. Also speaking much to the semi-autobiographical nature of recording many songs and albums over time – you can also get a solid-glimpse into the mindset and attitude of Taylor from year to year throughout listening to the music.
What we don’t have in common is our education. Taylor has spent years in high-profile institutions learning and refining his craft…and I got any certifications I have now from whatever the last Crackerjack-box provided. Might be something you’ll want to keep in mind for anything I’ve got to say here…any insights I have on it all would more than likely serve as redundant to him as I’m sure they’d have been considered already from a more educated and knowledgeable perspective other than mine!
And with that being said…he doesn’t need me to tell you that anything you’d find on his album Digit would appeal to a massively-niche and remotely-small percentage of audiophiles out there like myself. Digit as a whole, is wonderfully experimental…but as a cohesive listening experience, would drive most people insane trying to get their heads around it. From the notes I have here from Taylor direct – again, this is a known-thing that he’s recognized…but he’s also been smart enough to not hide from it and acknowledge it firmly as the part of his journey that it truly plays. There is a ton of drama to Digit…it’s very much like an audio-play of sorts…and there are moments of extraordinary brilliance that you’ll find in amongst some ideas that roam from one extreme to the other in their ambitions. What is of little doubt, is the ability and skill that Taylor has…you can easily hear that he could choose to write a clever, three-minute pop-song probably in his sleep and have a hit-song…and you can certainly hear that he’s chosen to take his skills, bindle & stick and head off completely in the other direction in pursuit of the unexplored and new. I got a lot of love for that – and I really dig the way this album ends off with great songs like “The Apology Song” and “Phone Heaven” shining brightly as it heads towards its bonus-offerings. Digit…as an album…will leave you wondering whether or not Taylor gets nearly as stoned as I do on any given day, which again I personally appreciate – but it’s hard to say whether or not that’ll come across en masse. Surely we’ve all got room for a little “Bobby!” in our lives don’t we? Many kudos to Mr. Hank Hill for making an appearance to rock the mic and give us all that great info on propane and propane accessories for us all at the end of this record. All kidding aside – it’s impossible to deny the amount of skill, precision and straight-up TIME it would take to assemble Digit’s final song “Count The Cards (Try-To-Make-It-To-The-End Edition)” – and I’ve got love for that too. Taylor is quite clearly…a musical-madman yes…but one loaded with skills and abilities both in-front and behind the studio-boards. Considering there is roughly a collective thirty-seconds on this entire record that sounded anything at all like what I’d first heard from him via a YouTube video on his main site – it was a complete trip to listen to this record by the shock of comparison alone.
I could go into the absolute chaos and melody that he finds himself in overtop of the EIGHTY-NINE tracks that make up his Best Of Taylor For Tape 2007-2009…bet you’re all happy I’m not going song by song for review this time out or we’d all be here until April 2017 reading this and all one-year older! There are multiple moments of inspiration that take hold of him – he really does a great job of changing his ideas, style, sound…everything really…from track to track, you never know what you’ll get on an album like this. But brilliance there most certainly is – check out a song like “Green Fields, Golden Sands” if you need more convincing…that’s truly a beautiful song right there, that’s what that is.
And don’t get me wrong…there are a fantastic-many moments that shine brightly on this span of Taylor’s collected works. Nestled squarely in amongst his madness, just below the surface is the amount of skill, heart, melody and clear excitement & passion that drive his music. It would most easily be summed-up by saying that I like him best when he knows he’s playing it the most straight-ahead…he can write a killer song and deliver a perfect melody when it strikes him to do so (check out “In My Defence” “Believe Song” “Lady Music” or “White Guy With A Problem” to name a few!); as for the rest of the experimentations…chances are I’d like the same ones that work that he does. I could go on and on about it…he’s gone every direction and taken on every style it seems…but there’s another of Taylor’s music that I’m addressing today here in the review and that’s the website itself and how it works in terms of supporting his career and music – so let’s make sure I do that too…
My gut feeling is this: it’s still an uphill battle, no matter how you slice it, for any of the independent-scene to really get the music out there…and I’m not so sure that Taylor hasn’t perhaps created more of a battle than less of one with the current set-up, though there are many extremely positive aspects of how he’s approaching it all. I like the idea of subscription-based supporting of an artist…I like even better than it supports the idea of a-la-carte supporting where you’re not locked in for life by any means and could cancel at any time. Not because I’d want to, just because I think people tend to get nervous about purchasing anything ongoing when they can’t find the off-switch if needed…so that’s a wise-move on his part and he’s made all this very clear in the details throughout the site – and I like that clarity too, I didn’t feel like anything at all was ‘hidden’ or a gimmick on the site. Should you be a subscriber, you’ll most certainly be in for a justified expense on your part; without even knowing him…the sheer amount of creativity and constant-production you’ll see on his page all but completely ensures you’ll continually hear more and more from this guy throughout your subscription.
So…in reference to that…there have been some that have tried this method, but very few with the visible/audible evidence that supports just how ‘worth it’ that expense would be – and Taylor manages to pull that off in spades. Shouldn’t take you longer than just a few minutes to read into his story and understand that this would be an investment upon which you’ll clearly see a musical-return in-full.
The main issue with WHY this method doesn’t work most often…is that it creates two necessary jobs that NEED to be done each and every day from here on in. One as the artist…because that creativity and constant-production is going to become necessary in order to satisfy the subscription’s value, but perhaps the hardest part of all is the second-part it creates, which is a monster-sized need to market himself, on his own. Taylor Abrahamse isn’t nearly crazy though…he’s got a large following already based on an insane amount of YouTube creations and incredible work he’s done there too…so there WILL be eyes that find him and his page – but that’s only about 1% of the work he’d need to do to consistently sell enough subscriptions in order to support an ongoing life as a musician and nothing else as a career. He’d still need to be advertising his own site, wherever and whenever as much as possible in order to do that…an amount of time so large in theory that there’d be little time to spend on his music, were he to approach it all on his own. In my opinion…that might be the key; he’s enough of a draw on his own…but with other artists involved, all sharing in the marketing and spreading the word…I think it’s got a chance. On his own…as one artist…I think it’s a full-time job in unto itself.
Just depends on what the goals are. If it’s meant to complement an existing income, or if it’s supposed to support his art entirely…that’s a factor in this equation. I don’t know his circumstances of course, but I’d assume after everything I’ve seen, read and heard that this is clearly the passion he’s pursuing – but also with the amount of voice-work and various other projects he takes on…he might already be driving a Mazerati around town for all I know!
I know this first experience with Taylor Abrahamse and his music is certainly one I won’t be forgetting anytime soon…this dude’s seriously a damn unique find and the kind of mad-scientist that music straight-up wouldn’t BE music without – this is a character that keeps our world spinning on the off-kilter axis that it turns on. Whether it’s the humour or the melody, the ideas or the execution – you could spend a decade already listening to the music of Taylor Abrahamse…and I’d be willing to wager a bet that this guy goes on to record more music than the Rolling Stones have.
If that alone isn’t worth a subscription, I really don’t know what is.
You all know I’m not here to be a salesman…I’m genuinely impressed with Taylor’s determination, abilities and skills – you will be too. Whether it’s the humour, the creativity, the guest-stars, the cover-songs, the rants or the ravings – you really won’t find the value that I know you’ll get from Taylor anywhere else out there…I can practically guarantee that on his behalf, even without knowing him. Check out his official page – AND…my friends, dear people, dear readers – SUBSCRIBE and SUPPORT if you dig this idea. Approaches like Taylor’s need support to be able to continue…so if you dig this musical-madman and his wild-ideas…do the right thing – don’t just visit the site, support the guy.
If anything…at the VERY least…do yourself and your music a favor and stop by his page to see what real determination and pursuit of one’s dreams at full-force truly looks like – I think we could all learn something about that from Taylor Abrahamse.
Find out all that you need to here at his main site: http://taylorabrahamse.ca/the-abravault/
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