Ukrainian duo Heinali (aka Kyiv-based composer / sound-artist Oleg Shpudeiko) and pioneering experimental jazz saxophonist Michael Balog combine for a special one-off EP of improvised melody and exploratory sonics.
Brimming with the characteristic confidence of two acutely skilled musicians, A Mechanical Bird in an Electric Garden represents a meeting of two disparate approaches and a departure from Shpudeiko and Balog’s usual work. The record reveals Heinali’s love for generative polyphony and polyrhythms, his strange sci-fi sonics creating a spacious, futurist architecture that houses Michael Balog’s (relatively) recognizable sounding – a snaking melodic binding that wraps through the machinery like coloured ribbon.
The first of two long-form tracks, Diurnal Song, begins with Heinali’s digitally formed percussive textures that become lucid rhythm to Michael Balog’s sparse, lyrical fragments of the saxophone. By its halfway point, the typewriter-percussion begins to underpin UFO engine sounds and garbled alien language, while Balog’s Eastern tunings remain entrancingly human. As the piece closes, to tides of glitching waves, Balog turns to somber and breathy wistfulness, deceptively simple but expertly placed.
On side B, Nocturnal Song – slightly shorter at 11 minutes – is perfectly named. Heinali here offers Baroquian polyphonic sine waves that shimmer at the high register while Balog’s lines guide and respond like a mature voice leading a dreamlike children’s choir. It is nocturne in its gentleness and obscurity, rising slowly and culminating with a sparkling haze of modular synthesis and noirish sax.
Follow Michael Balog: