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.