Many will have heard the work of Stephen W Tayler over the last four decades and not known it: his name’s among the production credits of albums by Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Rush and countless other big names.
This is his first artist album, with his own playing, compositions and concepts, and it reveals a fixation with minimalist composers such as Terry Riley, Philip Glass and Steve Reich. The influence of America’s pioneering sonic architects is felt most keenly in the rippling pulses and intertwining counter-melodies of Périphérique and Glass In Rain, the most striking tracks here. Euro Star recalls a more refined take on early Orb with its dance-lite groove and synthesized chorale, and Tayler invokes latter-period Tangerine Dream on the techno-flavoured Metro. Most commonly, haunting pianos ripple over electronic waves. Tayler declares the album to be a teenage vision made possible by technology catching up with him, illustrated by the final track The Boy Who Said Yes. Evoking Bush, it features Tayler himself singing soprano in the choir at New College, Oxford, 40 years ago. He’s obviously put his heart, soul and life into this project. For that, it deserves some investigation.