TaxiWars is back after a three-year hiatus with new album ‘Artificial Horizon’, released 6th September via Sdban Ultra.
An intensive collaboration between dEUS front man Tom Barman, saxophonist Robin Verheyen, bassist Nicolas Thys and drummer Antoine Pierre, TaxiWars are a mix of lyricism, poetry and jazz with a rock sensibility.
Three years in the making, ‘Artificial Horizon’, is a metaphorical step forward from 2016’s critically acclaimed album ‘Fever’.
Reinventing themselves, Barman and Verheyen came up with something very fresh and personal, tastefully evolving from a cubistic jazz sound to a more melodious direction. The band took their music to the next level adding depth to their compositions, clarity to the beats and efficiency to their overall sound.
‘Artificial Horizon’ is high on experimentation and creativity and demonstrates a kaleidoscope of styles and sounds. Tracks like album opener ‘Drop Shot, are sharp and on point, with a heavy sense of groove, while recent single ‘Sharp Practice’, is an impulsive, energetic vibration that steams jazz with late eighties hip-hop beats.
Title track ‘Artificial Horizon’, is both beguiling and insistent with an ingrained punkiness that sets the band apart from the plush jazz scene, all thanks to Verheyen’s punchy, melodic lines and Barman’s haunting lyrics. “I wanted TaxiWars to be sharp, to the point, punky and trashy – much like the band Morphine. Long solos were no-go,” says Barman.
The exquisite piano ballad ‘Irritated Love’ complete with smoky sax is an example of the ease in which TaxiWars merge certain traditional elements of jazz with an indie approach to songwriting while tracks like ‘The Glare’ and ‘Infinity Cove’ display TaxiWars’ love for jazz musicians such as Pharaoh Sanders, Archie Shepp, and Charles Mingus – full of swing, pulse, and the urge to break out of the genre’s confinements.
Barman has fronted Belgian indie legends dEUS since 1989, selling 1.5 million albums along the way. He is also one half of dance duo Magnus and, for the last four years, singer and mischief maker for TaxiWars, his latest project and one that indulges his love for jazz. In addition to his musical background, in 2003 he directed the film ‘Any Way the Wind Blows’, and has overseen two acclaimed jazz compilations; ‘That’s Blue + Painters Talking’ (Blue Note, 2006) and ‘Living on Impulse’ (Impulse! 2012).
Saxophone player Robin Verheyen lives in New York and has built a reputation as one of the great young talents in the world of jazz and classical music. He has released two albums with the Robin Verheyen NY Quartet, and has performed with such artists as Marc Copland, Ravi Coltrane, Narcissus Quartet, Gary Peacock, and Joey Baron.
Bassist Nicolas Thys was a mainstay on the Belgian and Dutch jazz scenes before he moved to New York in 1999. He has toured and/or recorded with legends like Lee Konitz, Mal Waldron, Toots Thielemans and Zap Mama.
Drummer Antoine Pierre has been touring with Belgian guitar legend Philip Catherine and trumpet player Jean-Paul Estiévenart, and others. He moved to New York City in 2014 to study at the New York School of Jazz and Contemporary Music.
TaxiWars have performed numerous shows across Europe, performing in intimate clubs to jazz festivals and big scale rock festivals.