188

Michael Robinson: Charukeshi

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Michael Robinson: Charukeshi
Charukeshi, a modern update to the ancient tradition of North Indian classical music, stands at the crossroads between new tools and traditional forms. Michael Robinson, who's been doing this kind of thing for some time now, takes a holistic approach to his projects. Using the piano and a variety of instruments from all over Asia (and the world), Robinson assembles instrumental units and performs with the aid of electronic sequencing and processing. His approach most prominently relies on African percussion and South Asian extended forms.

"Charukeshi" is a raga (in a Karnatic form popularized by Ravi Shankar), though its highly stylized approach renders irrelevant any simple comparisons to North Indian classical music. The record consists of a single hour-long piece, which opens to the cascade of rainsticks and bells, leading into an extended theme on the piano. It's hard to pick apart exactly what's going on where since the piece is so richly textured, but a clear drone stands out amidst the ripples and swirls on the keyboard. As time passes, the drums begin to emerge. Robinson plies the sounds of his esoteric drum collection in a dense, interwoven fashion to create thick sonic meshes which evolve relative to each other and the melody. The drums come and go, just like the piano, but the piece rarely loses momentum. (You do have to spend an hour with the disc, since there are no breaks in the tracking.)

Having said all that, there's really no point in over-intellectualizing this music. Whatever ideas the artist used to put it together, Charukeshi relies first and foremost on a tidal flow. If you just listen and allow the waves of sound to pass, you can absorb a warm, pulsating energy. I think that's the point.


(Note: this record is the most recent in a series of releases by Michael Robinson, each with its own instrumental flavors and levels of intensity. It's curious to note the origins of the art that comes with this CD. To quote the notes, "The cover paper was handmade in the mountains of Nepal from the inner bark of the Lokta bush. Embedded in the paper is an actual Boddhi tree leaf which is first painted silver." It's quite a thing, as you might imagine.)

Visit Azure Miles on the web.

Track Listing

Charukeshi.

Personnel

Michael Robinson: piano, rainsticks, Indian bells, tabla, dholak, dhol, wadon, tang gu, and tanpura.

Album information

Title: Charukeshi | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Azure Miles

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Tread Lightly
Trøen Arnesen Quartet
MMBC Terma
Michael Bisio / MMBC
Koki Solo
Natsuki Tamura
Colibri Rojo
Camilia Nebbia
Shapeshifters
Reuter / Motzer / Grohowski
Tales From The Jacquard
Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.