Montag, 11. April 2011

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble - From the Stairwell

A seductive beauty lingers in the shadows. She whispers softly in your ears and you cannot resist.  You follow her as she walks up those stairs. Carefully watching her every step..

"From the Stairwell" is one of those definite inner cinema albums. It's all about the atmosphere, soundscapes and a sensuality that sounds, in lack of a more original word, feminine. 

It's important to clarify that there are dozens of different moods, not all or are dark, neither is everything lush and exoctic. "From the Stairwell" really is a subtle rollercoaster, but a rollercoaster nevertheless. What unifies all the moods and holds the album as a whole together is the great musicianship and pure beauty of the sounds they produce. 

The overall flow is so tightly woven, it's hard to understand how there still can be any dynamic at all. But with a rollercoaster, of course there's dynamic. Moods shift form and shape, instruments float in and out of the music. Sometimes the instrumental bleakness is worthy of the darkest of nights. Then Charlotte's voice appears out of nowhere, replacing the bleakness with beauty and melancholy. Sometimes leading and singing lyrics but never trying to outshine the other musicians. As a logical consequence her voice blends in as just another instrument in the mist on tracks like "Giallo". 

Words are just another tool to convey the poetry that is the music of "The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble". "From the Stairwell" is never a "vocal jazz" record. A much better label would be "journey jazz" or "mood jazz".  And that still wouldn't do this music justice. The range in moods is also matched by the range in styles. One moment you'll hear influences from the "Kava Kon" remix collaboration from 2009 in form of an exotica style touch (On "Giallo" and "Les Étoiles Mutantes" for example). The next moment you'll hear dark ambient soundscapes with plucked basslines straight out of Agent Dale Cooper's journey into the "Black Lodge" (On "Past Midnight"). The finale of "Celladoor" is every trip hop producer's dream of brass instrumentation and beats climaxing, albeit with an organic jazz drum sound.

With a duration of one hour and two minutes spread across eight tracks there's a lot to dive right in and enjoy.
Though I mentioned a few song names it's hard to pick any standout tracks really. What we have here is one piece of work. Of course you will prefer some tracks over others, but I really can't see why someone would reject to take the whole one hour long journey with The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble.
This is a band that really grew to become one of the finest European bands in my book. "From the Stairwell" is a perfect ten. A sure recommendation for everyone reading this.  

cd time: 1:02:43
Gideon Kiers : Beats / FX
Jason Köhnen : Double Bass / Fretless
Hilary Jeffery : Trombone / Oscillator
Charlotte Cegarra : Vocal FX /Various instruments
Eelco Bosman : Guitar
Sadie Anderson : Violin
Nina Hitz : Cello

Standout tracks: 
All of them. Again. I'm not lazy. The music's just too good.