188

Michael Robinson: Charukeshi

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
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.

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


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read The Chase CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Paint CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read A Pouting Grimace CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "Gin & Moonlight" CD/LP/Track Review Gin & Moonlight
by James Nadal
Published: August 26, 2017
Read "Satori" CD/LP/Track Review Satori
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Noumenon" CD/LP/Track Review Noumenon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "The Things We Did Last Summer" CD/LP/Track Review The Things We Did Last Summer
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "Out Of The Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Out Of The Blue
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 4, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.