Taylor Deupree – Harbor

Taylor Deupree, surely one of today’s preeminent sound artists, will introduce his 14th solo recording on June 5. Harbor comes to us via laaps records in France.

By virtue of collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian, Stephan Mathieu, Stephen Vitiello, Marcus Fischer and Tetsu Inoue (among many others), Deupree can be counted among a small number of modernist artists who’ve connected with a mass global audience.

But he is no second fiddle. Deupree’s solo work, sought-after mastering expertise and 12k record label have contributed to an international reputation every bit as striking as those he’s worked with.

In Harbor, we have another vintage Deupree offering. It can fairly be described as minimalist, but that tag has always felt reductive when it comes to his work. Like so much of what he’s produced over the last two-plus decades, the new album absolutely bristles with ideas – all of them skillfully executed.

Deupree’s recordings are profoundly reflective of our times. With each piece, he seems to offer both a commentary on the state of things and a respite from the world’s excesses. His music embraces its listeners, gently insisting that things are better than they seem.

He does this by turning the sounds of an overbearing digital world, with all of its inorganic strangeness, into meditative soundscapes that help us comes to terms with 21st century life. Better to accept this world of 1s and 0s than to shun it – embrace its weird beauty.

By joining Deupree and others in this, we gain a greater attentiveness and appreciation of our environment. Just as previous composers embraced the sounds of industry, and before that nature. This music is best understood in the multigenerational context of successful experimentation.

And make no mistake, the soothing nature of Deupree’s work does not reflect simplicity. Yes it is quiet, but it is absolutely packed with quietness.

Each of the new album’s eight pieces offer multiple ideas, often simultaneously. He continues to produce work that is immediately recognizable and yet always full of surprises.

Harbor is a great success.

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