Mikhail Chekhalin — Poruganie Patsiphika
(Mir Records MCD1000, 2007, CD)
Mikhail Chekhalin — Paradigm Transition
(Mir Records MCD1001, 2007, CD)
Mikhail Chekhalin — Untimely
(Mir Records MCD1002, 2007, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2008-10-01
Mikhail Chekalin is a Russian keyboard artist and a composer who has an impressive body of work dating back to the early 80s. He has been called the Russian Klaus Schulze, but these three new releases on Archie Patterson’s Mir Records present a different face. Descriptive labels that come to mind are difficult, neo-classical, avant-garde, intellectual, and academic with progressive, electronic, and space, if they could apply, way down on the list. These three discs form a trilogy of albums Mikhail composed and conceived around the turn of the century and they have remained unreleased until now. Poruganie Patsiphika is the first part of the trilogy and it is a work of deeply intense and emotionally dark symphonic themes reminiscent of Peter Frohmader’s early work, but without the heavy bass lines. Alternating between avant-garde and jazz, the nine tracks take you on a breathless journey through Chekalin’s universe.
Part two is Paradigm Transition. Recorded in April 1996 in Oslo and mixed in 2004, it highlights a different aspect of Chekalin’s music. Here we have Chekalin combining acoustic piano, synthesized strings, organ, and operatic Russian vocals in his musical crucible to create a more organic, accessible, and, dare I say it, melodic album. Chekalin’s use of vocals is an extension of what Klaus Schulze was doing at the same time and one of the interesting aspects of Chekalin’s music is that on the surface, it does not sound synthesized.
Recorded between 2000 and 2002, Untimely is part three, and it presents 19 tracks of synthesized orchestral post-symphonic music that bear a strong resemblance to Peter Frohmader’s output from the late 80s/early 90s. It also is a step beyond Klaus Schulze’s neo-classical efforts. However, the length of this release, seventy plus minutes, is a bit daunting. Though interesting, my ears tire after a while from the crystalline high frequency sounds. Untimely is perhaps the most academic of the three discs and is best taken in small doses. Definitely not music for an intimate or romantic evening or something to relax to after a hard day at work. You have to be in the proper mood to listen to this music. But if you enjoy intense music bordering on the chaotic, then Mikhail Chekalin is well worth investigating.
Related artist(s): Mikhail Chekhalin
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Zamla Mammaz Manna - För äldre nybegynnare / Schlagerns mystik / Familjesprickor – For my money, SZamla incarnation number two was their prime and despite the fact we have to pay Japanese prices for Swedish CDs (all done by Silence) these are extremely well worth the wait. Zamla is... (1994) » Read more