It’s near the end of the year, and I have one more album from 2021 that I want to address (though I’ll probably do a multi-feature of some other cool 2021 albums in early 2022). That would be the debut from Titan Agronomist Project, Maia! The Daughter of the Great Atl-Atl of the West, which released today, December 20th. This is an album that shouldn’t be missed.
TAP is the solo project from Randy M. Salo, bassist for This is Not an Elephant, whom I’ve shared various times in the last couple years. Randy is a stellar bass player, yes, but he is also a filmmaker. In this project, he brings together instrumental progressive rock with cinematic, soundtrack-worthy fare. You will hear solos from various guitarists from Munich, as well, namely Andreas Krebs, Konst Fischer, Marcel Thenée, and Jakub “JD” Dwornicki.
And this is a project with more than style in its sights. It aims to tell stories, specifically those from Randy’s grandfather, Jim Green. There’s just something about a grandson paying tribute to the epic life of his grandfather that makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, and even though this is an instrumental record, you can feel the vastness and novelty in each and every track.
Musically, this album fires on all cylinders. The progressive rock segments are heavy, fast-paced, and awesome. You will hear Randy’s delicious bass grooves all over the place as he lays down hefty, humongous, and hungry bass lines that eat up the spotlight more often than not. Fantastic guitar work and drumming abound, as well, and the keys add flickering beauty to the musical space.
The album has a quieter side, though. It often muses in electronic and orchestral ideas, and it jumps back and forth between film score and prog rock quite often, many times within the same song. The music here is certainly an ambitious and voluptuous undertaking.
Maia! The Daughter of the Great Atl-Atl of the West has seven tracks (plus some bonus songs), and it has several moments I want to highlight. Firstly, the single “A Portal is Opened”, is a bright, groovy, Floydian track that bounces and harmonizes and riffs with various levels of contrast and rhythm, and includes some female vocal harmonies that really sound great. It is a beauty, for sure. “1923: Cornfield Crash” is another good one, with resplendent colors and harrowing narrative. I especially love the guitars on that one. The closer, “1942: From High School to the High Seas” is a fascinating song, one that begins with school band music, leans into a heavier sound, and climaxes with female vocal harmonies and ethereal splendor.
Randy’s Titan Agronomist Project has a hefty start here. I love the shorter filmic tracks that help set the mood just as much as I love the pealing, reeling prog rock sound. There is so much to love here, and more volumes in this project are on the way. I’m looking forward to continuing the journey.
Find TAP online: