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  • Jonathan Widran

LARS TAYLOR, "Space Journey"

The eye-popping and thematically spot on cover of Lars Taylor’s latest instantly infectious contemporary jazz single “Space Journey” has the guitarist and multi-instrumentalist in full Han Solo mode, bundled in a heavy jacket, hipster shades on, ready to explore the vast reaches of the universe while equipped with some of his most important studio gear, including several keyboards and an acoustic guitar hanging on the wall.

At a time when cover art is often reduced to a thumbnail shot on streaming sites, this is definitely the perfect image to reflect to dreamy, atmospheric, seductive, laid back and hypnotic track. But the title and image also gives us a moment to reflect on how since releasing his debut single “Sweet Onion” in 2019, Taylor’s releases – all 13 non-holiday tracks till now – are the musical equivalent of transcending time and space by taking us on many unexpected stylistic journeys that soar into different genres without ever losing his core melodic and rhythmic vibe. Three of his recent singles – the funk rocker “Electric Night,” the tropical exotica tune “Carioca” and the synth-pop flavored “Sound of Freedom” (featuring a mystery UK vocalist) – are perfect examples of Taylor’s freewheeling approach to his career.

“Space Journey” invites us into the experience by wrapping its swirling atmospheres around our senses just as the funky, hypnotic mid-tempo beat kicks in via Taylor’s drum programming and Charles Berthoud’s electric bass. Once the main keyboard hook takes hold, however, it’s done deal. We’re on board, our bodies grooving sensually as Taylor’s chill, sexy earworm – enhanced in key spots by an ethereal voice whispering romantically in an unidentifiable language - carries us deeper into the multi-faceted sonic experience.

A few minutes in, Taylor matches his fluid guitar textures to the synth, making the impact of the motif even more emotionally powerful. One of the highlights along the way happens when he holds back on the keyboard melody for a moment and unleashes a beautiful, intricate acoustic guitar solo, then achieves the same effect later with a soaring electric solo that taps into his love for rock music. Those are just two of the incredible ways that Taylor - who also produced, arranged and mixed the track – takes us on his next adventure. Though it’s a more subtle part of the mix,  Dumindu Dassanayaka flute playing also contributes depth to the overall aural experience.


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