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Michael Robinson: A Parrot Sipping Tea


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Michael Robinson: A Parrot Sipping Tea
Over the past several years, composer and keyboardist Michael Robinson has delved deep into the South Asian musical traditions. Using his own invention, the Meruvina, he creates, digitally enhanced, soundscapes filled with mysticism and spirituality. On A Parrot Sipping Tea he continues his explorations in the form of a singular interpretation of the traditional Indian raga, with its four segments.

"Alap," for instance, is usually improvised and is a melodic intro to the raga. Here Robinson uses it to a haunting effect. It evolves unhurriedly with sparse reverberating tones and electronic phrases into a futuristic and ambient piece that is hypnotic and subtly textured. Robinson's use of a modern age sounds together with his faithful adherence to the ancient art form results in a sublime and delightful balance.

The "Jor and Jhala" that follow start off with an engaging angularity. As Robinson adds more spontaneous embellishments to the tune, appropriately, the tempo increases. Occasionally, flute-like sounds punctuate the performance. Gradually its complex rhythmicity moves from the background to the forefront and becomes breathtakingly lithe and agile. Here and there, chords reminiscent of simmering organ lines emerge and fade away.

The two Gats that follow take the work in a satisfyingly unexpected direction. "Drut Gat" introduces glissando pianistic lines and deep, resonant tablas over the hum and drone of the meruvina. Utilizing the former instrument is unique to Robinson as he recently released three improvised acoustic piano albums. The drumming, particularly the eastern kind, are part of the standard gat. The "Alti Drut Gat" has a faster cadence and Robinson's extemporizations are at times in the form of dense, earthy keyboards and at others ethereal strings. The core of the movement remains his restless and propulsive percussion.

With this stimulating recording, once again, Robinson has created a brilliant and absorbing amalgam of the classical and the contemporary. Because of his superb musicianship Robinson is able to fuse cultural elements across time and space into a moving and provocative whole that stands as a testament to the universality of the musical experience.

Track Listing

Alap; Jor and Jhala; Drut Gat; Ati Drut Gat.


Michael Robinson: piano.

Album information

Title: A Parrot Sipping Tea | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Azure Miles Records

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