All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

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

Related Articles

Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Humanities CD/LP/Track Review
Humanities
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Wild Is The Wind CD/LP/Track Review
Wild Is The Wind
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review
Fairytales
by Gareth Thompson
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read "Suite Theory" CD/LP/Track Review Suite Theory
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 16, 2018
Read "Music IS" CD/LP/Track Review Music IS
by John Kelman
Published: March 9, 2018
Read "Provenance" CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Get 'Em" CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Demons 1" CD/LP/Track Review Demons 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Promise!" CD/LP/Track Review Promise!
by Don Phipps
Published: April 6, 2018