TAUK performs at Agave in Avon on Wednesday
Special to the Daily
No one would ever accuse TAUK of being easily defined. The four-piece Long Island-based outfit delves into a fusion of progressive rock, hip-hop and jazz that’s served them well over the past several years.
The foursome of Matt Jalbert, Charlie Dolan, Alric “A.C.” Carter and Isaac Teel have soldiered on to great success as an all-instrumental combo. The move has yielded a positive return, as the quartet have become favorites on the jam-band circuit while sharing bills with the likes of Umphrey’s McGee, Widespread Panic and Lettuce. Along the way, they’ve subsequently recorded four well-received albums.
The musicians’ love of the unorthodox has found the group being inspired by science fiction and the concept of artificial intelligence to create a two-part project that kicked off with the EP “Shapeshifter I: Construct” last year. The band followed later in 2018 with the full-length album, “Shapeshifter II: Outbreak.” For Carter, film and television were where the spark of inspiration started.
“The theme of AI commentary on where we’re going in movies like ‘Ex Machina’ and ‘Black Mirror’ were definitely inspirations that we drew on to create these songs,” he explained in a recent phone interview. “Plus, we had an opportunity to set up in this old house [in Oyster Bay] that no one has been living in for years. We put in our sound board and all our gear in there and it happened in that house, in the living room. It was a really cool experience that we were able to do all the pre-production, recording and overdubs all in the same space. The house definitely lent itself to that, being old and creepy. It just had this vibe that fed into where we were trying to go.”
Recorded in December 2017, both albums will tickle the fancy of anyone who has an affinity for the funk-flavored jazz-fusion stylings of Medeski, Martin & Wood, Soulive and Sex Mob. It’s the kind of sprawling musical approach that Carter feels is TAUK’s strength, even more so when it comes to trying to define the band.
“It’s really hard to put a genre to TAUK. I always ask people how they would describe it and I get everything from instrumental rock-fusion to prog-fusion to funk. It ranges. I’m not really sure, but that’s a good place to be,” he said.
The roots for TAUK date back to when Carter, Jalbert and Dolan met up in middle school. What started out as jamming around in each other’s house as part of an impromptu extra-curricular activity eventually morphed into the trio graduating from playing Long Island to booking gigs at Manhattan-based venues like The Bitter End.
But Long Island’s music scene is dominated by punk acts and cover bands: Macseal is one of the bigger emerging artists from the LI punk scene. The band quickly learned they would need to venture into Brooklyn and Manhattan to build their career. Brooklyn drummer Teel was recruited later by the trio after college.
The unofficial fifth member of the band is music-industry veteran Robert Carranza, who has produced all of TAUK’s studio efforts and has worked with a broad range of artists. His contributions have been and continue to be appreciated by the members of TAUK.
“I think it says something for somebody to be as broad musically as Robert is. For him to work with Jack Johnson and then to work with Ozomatli, Mars Volta and Marilyn Manson is him working on completely different genres on the spectrum,” said Carter.
While TAUK can be musically complex, the ability to connect with an audience in a concert setting is paramount for what the quartet does and is as important for the band members as it is for people coming out to see them.
“Fans coming out to see us can expect a good time. You’ve gotta dance and have fun. We take ourselves seriously, but you can’t take yourself too seriously. You have to remember that we’re doing this because it’s what we love to do. When you’re sharing with people, it’s our music, but they own a part of it as well,” Carter said.
TAUK performs at Agave in Avon on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the show. Visit agaveavon.com for more information.
If you go …
When: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 9:30 p.m.
Where: Agave, Avon
Cost: 15 in advance and $20 on the day of the show
More information: Visit agaveavon.com.