Taylor Deupree Taylor DeupreeShoals
There are two kinds of Taylor Deupree followers: those who miss his pre- “Stil.” (12k, 2002) productions and those who prefer the ones that came after. Before that crossing, now considered the most substantial part of his career, the American made a place for himself on the emerging digital scene with a coarse minimalism, full of empty spaces and with a tendency to the nanometric, still in debt with patterns close to techno. After “Stil.”, the rhythmic studies made way for a progressive immersion in the strictly atmospheric, with special care for textures and the ever more notorious presence of melodic friendliness, except in the few items that kept alive the hopes of his early fans, as is the case with the “Post_Piano” series, alongside Kenneth Kirschner, and his encounters with Richard Chartier. “Shoals” is the album that could satisfy everybody.
Contextualised in the recent oeuvre of Deupree, “Shoals” is a radical record. Compared to his recent collaborations with Christopher Willits on “Mujo” (Plop, 2004) and “Listening Garden” (Line, 2007), Eisi with “Every Still Day” (Noble, 2005), and Savvas Ysatis on “The Sleeping Morning” (12k, 2007), and even its predecessor the disappointing, impersonal “Northern” (12k, 2006), “Shoals” advocates an extreme deconstruction of the harmonic and the structural. It is, in that aspect, a surprisingly purist ambient record, on which musicality, understood from a very conservative perspective, gives way to masses of circular sound where what’s important isn’t what happens, but the situations and places it generates.
On the other hand, it’s important to be aware of the origins of “Shoals” to understand its underlying sonority: at the end of 2009, Taylor was invited to be a resident of the Department of Musical Investigation at the University of York. A formidable collection of Indonesian instruments was put at his disposal, and he dedicated himself to meticulously capturing their timbres during his stay in Great Britain. Sonorities extracted not only from the use of the bonang, the celempung and the saron, but from the manipulation of their surfaces with the help of bows and different materials. Gigabytes worth of samples he would later process in his studio in the outskirts of New York until he got the fascinating scales on “Shoals”, where the organic isn’t seasoned with synthetic elements –what many of the artists on 12k do, but is instead treated, reinvented electronically.
To ask Deupree for a sequel to “.N” (Ritornell, 2000) and “Polr” (Raster-Noton, 2000) would now be absurd. To extend the one-way street he walked down on “Northern” would be disappointing. So, let’s salute “Shoals” as it is: one of the most skilled, intelligent reinventions of the last couple of years.
Taylor Deupree - Rusted Oak