TAUK have released their long-awaited, seventh full-length studio album Chaos Companion. The electro-prog quartet, based in Long Island, blur the lines between jam music and futuristic electro, creating an infectious blend that doesn’t let up. Their instrumental soundscapes are transportive, and you’re going to want to visit the rock Shangri-La to which they’re inviting you.
TAUK makes music that feels high-speed without forgoing the smoothness of a steady groove. This sublime combination gives the album an overtly cinematic quality; every song could be its own unique score. “Lonely Robot” sounds like the soundtrack to a dreamy video game car chase. Fittingly, the song received additional production from respected film composer Tyler Bates who worked on the soundtracks to John Wick and Guardians of the Galaxy. And “Dormammu,” which features The Shady Horns, could be the soundtrack to a dramatic final fight sequence fought with glowing swords. TAUK’s lack of lyrics allows their music to focus on building a soundscape, and unequivocally transporting the listener into their corner of space.
TAUK bassist Charlie Dolan, guitarist Matt Jalbert and keyboardist Alric “A.C.” Carter began playing together as middle schoolers. Isaac Teel eventually completed the quartet on the drums in 2012, forming the groups current iteration. TAUK recorded Chaos Companion at their newly completed studio on native Long Island.
“Everyones got a chaos companion, something that keeps you grounded amidst all of the madness,” Dolan said of the album title. “For us, it was the music.”
A chaos companion feels like a fitting image in the midst of post-quarantine confusion. TAUK, accustomed to a relentless touring schedule and festival slots at the likes of Bonnaroo and Electric Forest, were forced off the road in 2020 due to COVID-19. Unable to perform, the band explored their creative endeavors independently. Carter and Jalbert began exploring the possibilities of production softwares like Logic, leading them to enter the studio with some of TAUK’s most fully-realized demos yet. Their preparedness, however, didn’t hinder the band from capturing the improvisational quality that infuses these tracks with excitement. In fact, much of what would become the final cut of Chaos Companion was recorded live in the studio.
“Being an instrumental band already comes with a lot of freedom,” Carter said. “Having all that time away from the road really allowed each of us to experiment and explore in our own ways. It opened up whole new palettes for us to paint with.”
The exploration Carter speaks of leads TAUK to some truly astounding genre mashups. This album sounds like a film score, but it’s often hard to put one’s finger on what film. In short, each song is it’s own vignette, existing in the same landscape but telling a different story. Album standout “The Let Out,” which incorporates a grimy guitar riff, feels like the music you’d hear in an elevator headed straight to hell. Starting off with the same dreamy synths and electric guitar TAUK specializes in, they end up offering something totally new.
“Technodrome” opens with a distorted female voice stating, “This is not something you can just run from. Yesterday has evaporated.” The song provides TAUK’s trademark exultant mix of jam guitar and electro staples, but refuses traditional genre constraints. The opening statement feels fitting in that way; music is changing, TAUK is changing, and instead of hiding from that they may as well embrace the future.
TAUK are currently on tour supporting the album, with an upcoming Brooklyn show October 2. For full dates and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.taukband.com/shows/.
Listen to the full Chaos Companion album below:
Dormammu ft. The Shady Horns
The Let Out