Friday, 23 February 2018
Mikhail Chekalin - Meditative Music For A Prepared Organ, Vol. 1 & 2 (rec. 1979-1983)
Three of these albums were Meditative Music For Prepared Electricorgan, Vols. 1-3, reissued in 2003 as the two 77-minute CDs in today's post. Described as "electric organ with effects, solo vocal... all music was produced in one take, at a concert session, without recourse to multitrack technologies... no synthesisers [except for one track]", these releases felt like an ideal starting point for me.
The two 25+ minute tracks from LP 1 sit together on CD 1, with Meditation With Rhythm-Beating up first. After about 10 minutes of just spacey organ fades out, Chekalin adds in his haunting wordless vocal, and the slow rhythm track only makes a brief appearance around the 20 minute mark. Sounds Of Colour starts off more sparkly and melodic, but then things get much darker and more abstract for the rest of the epic journey. A definite comparison could be pre-synth Klaus Schulze, and the vocal parts at their most austere and ritualistic even made me think of Jarman-soundtracking TG.
For all the comparisons I've noted, they're only really surface similarities, and Chekalin's sound world is very much his own, with these two collections for electric organ serving as an ideal introduction to his early work. Will definitely be exploring further, and posting more albums here in the months to come.