«New chapter in the history of Russian Electronica»

TYOMA is the new incarnation of experienced electronic artist and producer Artem Kharchenko, also known for his previous creative endeavors as R-Tem and as part of Kooqla. ‘Mirror’ is the first album project under his TYOMA guise.

2005 saw Artem become one of the first dance producers from Russia to receive widespread international recognition and acclaim. His single ‘Voiceless’ (Kazantip’s Anthem) was released by UK label Lost Language, while R-Tem himself enlisted support from the likes of Paul Oakenfold, Way Out West and Armand van Helden. All told, R-Tem’s output includes more than 20 stylistically diverse releases, varying from progressive house to electro. His works have been published by Rotary Cocktail, Baroque Records and EMI Music whilst his band Kooqla delivered a distinctive blend of lounge music, funk, trip-hop and electronica which has seen them share the stage with numerous congenial acts in the range of Morcheeba, Infected Mushroom and Gus Gus. During 2014 Artem wrote some new instrumentals, including album track ‘Unclose’, which earned the status of the official introduction to the 22nd edition of Kazantip. In fact, it was ‘Unclose’ that fueled the start of a new project…TYOMA.

Recently the Russian electronic scene has been more and more vocal and bold in establishing itself on an international level. From the occasional success of individual EPs and singles released by European labels now they are creating their own imprints and experimenting with album formats. Artists such as Nina Kraviz and her label Трип (Mixmag’s best label in 2015), Comeme’s star Philipp Gorbachev, producers Trimpastaz, Lay-Far, Pixelord and all the Hyperboloid crew are pulling back the iron curtain to provide a glimpse of the previously unexplored Russian scene from a drastically different angle.

Against this background TYOMA’s debut album appears especially interesting. In ‘Mirror’ the TYOMA project opens a new chapter in the history of Russian electronica. The album’s sound is hard to categorise even with the help of such capacious genre definitions as techno or bass-music. Imagine rave colliding into neo-classic music and sci-fi movie soundtracks (in the vein of Hans Zimmer’s ‘Interstellar’ OST). Yes its cinematic, euphoric even, in a way that M83 and Jean-Michel Jarre build sonic compositions but also introspective and contemplative. Throughout ‘Mirror’, TYOMA stays true to a Soviet vernacular cultural heritage that dates back to the 70s and the world of analogue synths from which this album is exclusively made. From Russia…With Love.


«Epic. Cinematic. Quality»

While Russian electronic artist and producer Artem Kharchenko has garnered attention for his work as R-Tem (more than twenty releases, apparently) and as part of Kooqla, a band project specializing in an eclectic marriage of lounge music, funk, trip-hop, and electronica, Mirror sees him stepping out for the first time under the Tyoma guise. Of course, Kharchenko's not the only figure from the Russian electronic scene to have attracted international attention; in that regard, perhaps no one has achieved a higher profile in recent years than Nina Kraviz.

In terms of track sequencing, Kharchenko's structured Mirror effectively, and at forty-eight minutes, its duration is well-considered, too. Working with analogue synths, the producer sets the scene with a dramatic three-minute overture that exudes an epic, cinematic quality that subsequently re-emerges in the acidy “Desolation” and deep, slow-burning closer“1st.” Moving away from the dystopic “Intro,” “Dialogue” presents a less foreboding, piano-sweetened soundworld whose midtempo, trip-hop-styled swing is unfortunately marred by the inclusion of voiceovers. There are occasions when Mirror gravitates in the direction of Warp-styled IDM, whether it be Boards of Canada or Plaid (“Reflection” in particular calling to mind the latter); in powering “Unclose” with a punchy 4/4 groove and rave-styled attack, Kharchenko generates a sound that calls to mind M83 more than a less commercial-sounding artist.

One of the album's more memorable cuts, “Emblematic” powers itself with a funky shuffle whose house-flavoured swing is bolstered by shuddering strings and swelling synth textures; such extroversion hints that Kharchenko's uninterested in toiling in obscurity and eager to achieve recognition beyond Russian borders. That he's an experienced hand with many years of production work under his belt is clearly evidenced by the ten tracks on the recording; what's less easy to get a handle on is what exactly the Tyoma project is all about when the tracks are so stylistically diverse. In covering so many bases, a less-than-cohesive portrait emerges, despite the fact that each track, whether it be techno, IDM, electronica, or sci-fi ambient, individually impresses for its polish and craft.