Mike Lazarev : Out of Time Review
London-based composer Mike Lazarev is back with a beautiful mini-album called Out of Time. The ten songs flow and are constructed as a soundtrack to an imaginary film. Out of Time is the debut for his label and a standout work in his own high-ranking projects. “The protagonists of this imaginary film are constantly fighting against the fleeting moments on this plane. But it is less about death than it is about living. And most of all, it is all about time,” Lazarev writes. He is right: Out of Time is melancholic – movingly sad, but behind the sorrowful melodies lies a powerful affirmation of life, warmth, and the human spirit.
“Out of Time” has sustained strings that are augmented by a sparse piano melody. The tension in the strings is off-set by the simplicity and beauty of the piano. The strings finally resolve and support the piano theme for the middle section. As the piano gets more active, a haunting cello melody is introduced. The counterpoint between the piano and strings is gently placed on a canvas saturated with purity and stillness, finally building, working together to form a beautiful statement of music in time.
Propelled by a string melody and pedal tones, the needling buzz of “Too Late” centers on a declaration of growth until the piano interjection breaks the line into a discrete melody. The pauses add suspense as if to get out of the way of the strings. When the strings finally dissolve into empty space, it’s easy to hear the piano’s conjuring of emotions. The song progresses like a Harold Budd piece or a Ryuichi Sakamoto work, melting away the ice with soothing piano parts against the floating string notes. The Classical Eastern European theme is given a modern character by capturing the natural piano noises – the chatter of keys and pedal shuffles.
Out of Time is a journey in soundscapes familiar and unfamiliar; at times, a volatile mix, keeping your interest in the music’s anguish and joyful intractable nature. Lazarev is capable of wrapping emotions in creepy, shimmery textures that glisten like ice. There are long, hypnotic melodies off-set by disorienting string sounds, but at the center of it all is the voice of melody, space, and their balance.
Out of Time
February 26, 2021