Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

MC Taylor takes a break from his day job with triumphant results on the hypnotic Revelators

Release date: 17 June 2022
14 June 2022, 14:09 Written by Janne Oinonen
After several albums drawing inspiration from classic American roots music and spiritually inclined songwriting, it’s safe to assume we know what Hiss Golden Messenger’s MC Taylor is likely to do next.

At turns profoundly funky and immersed in cosmic loveliness, the four diverse and extended spiritual jazz-informed instrumental excursions on Revelators – conceived and recorded in collaboration with Spacebomb studio’s house bassist Cameron Ralston – highlight the folly of such preconceptions.

Taylor has some previous in vocal-free soundscaping in the form of 2013’s Steve Gunn collaboration Golden Gunn. That record honed in on the lysergic potential of any Americana orientated songwriter’s weapon of choice, guitar. The chief ingredients of Revelators – spiritual jazz; the sweaty throb of jazz/funk fusion; ever-ascending ambient dreamscapes; the humid mysteries of dub – go almost totally off-piste in context of Taylor’s past activities. With a revolving cast of musicians to flesh out the hypnotic riffs and themes of Taylor and Ralston, Revelators drops conventional song structures and lyrics entirely; instead, the album zooms in on the submerged nods towards, say, avant-funk and dub reggae that have often bubbled beneath the surface on Hiss Golden Messenger albums.

Such excursions into the unknown can often result in touristy excursions into yawn-inducing noodlesville. Even at its most loosely sprawling, Revelators remains infused with a clear sense of purpose and the same effortless displays of (in search of a better term) soul that has been a defining characteristic of the Hiss Golden Messenger catalogue.

The two disembodied outbreaks of hushed minimalism – the first, the gentle tussle between guitar, double bass, piano and sax on “Collected Water”, which hints at the time-stopping loveliness of John Martyn’s “Small Hours”, and second, the hypnotic, majestic star-bound ascension of “Bury The Bell” which blends the lonesome wail of a pedal steel with soaring strings reminiscent of Alice Coltrane’s Lord of Lords to truly cosmic effect – are packed with the kind of emotional power that instrumental music often forsakes in favour of technical excellence. The noisier cuts resemble a fruitful collision between juicy New Orleans funk grooves, the inner space hypnosis of Can and the skronk-friendly funk of '70s Miles Davis: the sweaty clatter of the 10-minute "Grieving" eventually decelerates into abstract dub ambient that could have been dug out of the ruins of Lee "Scratch" Perry's abandoned Black Ark studio.

According to Taylor, Revelators is a record informed by grief, and what comes after it. An electrifying and utterly unexpected treat, it’s packed with the kind of nourishing and warm music we would do well to turn to for sustenance and uplift when times get tough.

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