Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis once famously said “Before you play two notes learn how to play one note – and don’t play one note unless you’ve got a reason to play it”. It’s an ethos which Ukrainian musician Alex Sakevych subscribes to. His chosen musical avatar, Endless Melancholy, may cast worrying signs of music that is so oppressively sad it’s impossible to listen to but the truth is far removed from that. ‘Five Songs’ may be the name of Sakevych’s January EP even though “Five Piano Instrumentals” would be more accurate but – naming conventions aside – it’s hard to pick fault.
Sakevych keeps his pieces uncomplicated and fairly short and apart from the ever present melody, the other distinctive characteristic is the sound of the actual movements of pedals being pushed so if this music didn’t sound intimate enough, it now seems like the artist is actually playing live in the room from which you listen. Unsurprisingly, each of these tracks evoke sadness but since the piano is such a graceful instrument, there’s no sense of depression, more the joy of elegiac melody. In the spirit of The Durutti Column, the key instrument may be different but there’s that sense that a tune can sound hopeful or remorseful depending on what mood the listener is in at the time. Certainly, ‘Leave’, in particular, comes across as rather triumphant and only the last piece, ‘Nostalgia’, seems wholly downbeat but its message is delivered subtly and poignantly.
So, ignoring that somewhat morbid recording name, Endless Melancholy is as elegant and as understated as one could wish for. Sakevych could have easily added more bells and whistles to draw in a more impressionable audience but it’s vital that new music in its simplest form still exists, otherwise Mr. Hollis’ words would have been wasted.
Bandcamp Stream for ‘Five Songs’
Malcolm Fisher, Mark Hollis