Overt by Andrey Kiritchenko

Andrey Kiritchenko | Overt
Spekk (CD/DL)

Alright, so I am breaking one of my own rules here, though with good reason. This album was released back in 2017 but I’ve not had it in my hands and ears until recently, so I wanted to pontificate a little, so please indulge me as this is one of those sublime records that should not go unnoticed in these digits.

Known to many, Ukranian author, musician and label-runner Andrey Kiritchenko wears many hats, but here on the superb Spekk (Japan) imprint releases something of beauty that walks the line between melancholic modern classical and electronic pulsation. Horns and rattling percussion meet shifting shades of harmonic impulses that duly delight and confuse. The flourishes and sounds of Ecstatic Place are fanciful but not overly indulgent – somehow it feels you are sitting in an audience being treated to short vignettes of a French stage drama.

Within this flight of fancy are bright piano trills, vibes and luminescent synths that are engaging in color and tempo. Soundtrack For A Sad Movie is not moody, in fact much more shimmering than its title would suggest. Oddly the only comparison I can intimate is just barely on the verge of a composer like Jerry Goldsmith, which seems odd to me, but Kiritchenko’s work here comes off more like a score than anything else. As the artist has toyed with alterna-pop and quasi techno in the past, this seems like one of those progressions that makes you smile. This is his stint within the world that collides between classical music and soundtrack scoring, and though it is still his most recent work commercially available, shows a wild versatility and endless ear.

Strange as it may also seems there are faint swatches throughout that remind me of the era of Les Baxter, Martin Denny and the lounge lizards of the 50s and 60s. His addition of Asian gongs and other rung, metallic objects resonates with an Eastern flair. There isn’t a whole lot of tension here, instead he is guided by mostly by opulent casualness and just a hint of suspense (Untold; Manifest). In his own words you can better understand his approach on this record:

I let music be a weather vane of my personality, free from cliches, monosyllabicness and literalness. In experimental music most often work with abstraction, emotionlessness, chaos, minimalism. On the contrary, I wanted to make another album that would be very open by the sound, that he would be some kind of sincere and emotional. “Overt” is my own harmony of shivers….This sound does not tend to hide anything, it has not swirling ambience… It would be great if everyone can decipher it for themselves in their own way.

I hope I’m doing just that – and can most definitely understand and appreciate contradiction, even within one’s own creative practice – and it’s so “overt” of him to do so. This is one of those recordings that can come off as “candy coated” one minute and vaguely forlorn the next, depending (and deepened) by the listener’s own personal experience and mood. Ending with the rising chords of Flares one might imagine a certain sense of harmony that smiles back at you with a bit of a wry grin, self-assured and free-wheeling. A nice distraction, indeed.

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