Chinese Legend by Michael Robinson review (1997)

direct link to review @ (1997)

01 Chinese Legend (11:21)
02 From Hills Of Snow (21:27)
03 Porcelain Nights (30:23)

There is without doubt method to the barely restrained madness that frequently surfaces in the music of Michael Robinson, a Beverly Hills resident who recently had his music improvised by none other than Ray Manzarek at LA's Jazz Bakery. At times the music drifts along with a minimum of fuss only to be plucked from the tranquil stream bed and twisted in front of your ears into something very different. From out of nowhere a resounding tabla and accompanying Indian percussion will leap from the undergrowth and embellish the increasingly erratic piano lines that only seconds earlier were wandering aimlessly.

There are also extremely interesting divisions between the hand played parts and the obviously heavily sequenced ones, usually without any indication that one has taken over from the other. Either the lead parts are recorded very very slowly and quantized or Michael is leaving sections for the cut and paste. Who knows? The main thing is that his music is a definite grower. I've listened to the whole album several times at different times of the day and found myself increasingly drawn to the random creativity that creates spaces that are quite unique to this composer. In closing the presentation of the CD's we received for our listening pleasure were packaged quite delightfully with covers comprising of single sheets of Japanese hand silk screened rice paper and a direct to disk recording autographed by Michael himself. Before I even placed it on the platter I just knew I'd love it. Rating - 921,233 (out of a possible 1,000,000)

- Paul Clarke


"The choreography is ridiculous, the music sheer cacophony...taken together, it might by the work of a madman." (Giacomo Puccini writing about The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky in May 1913)