The duo of Jason Kohnen and Gideon Kiers originally formed The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble around the turn of the century and started out by creating soundtracks to moody silent films such as Murnau's Nosferatu and Lang's Metropolis. In the meantime, they've added several new members and have said that their debut album is particularly inspired by the work of the Brothers Quay, and their dark forms of electronic jazz seem to provide a pretty good backdrop to the creepy short films of the elusive pair.
As one might expect, this is some dark, slinky jazz music that mixes lots of organic instrumentation (including guitar and some particularly effective trombone and cello) with mostly subtle programming. The opening track of "The Nothing Changes" is particularly effective, as a skeletal rhythm consisting of sparse upright bass strums and simple percussion provide a shakey backbone while tendril-like horns and strings wisp around repetitive and eerie guitar.
"Pearls For Swine" brings the electronic element much higher into the mix as overdriven drum programming slams away over double bass and filtered strings. "Lobby" is easily one of the most effective tracks on the entire album, building from swirls of cello and muffled beats into a rumbling midsection that keeps pulling the tension tighter and tighter until the track unleashes a wall of filtered horror-film strings that gives me a rush every time I hear it.
Showing off quite a bit of range, the group even manages to pull of tracks like the more fleet-footed "Parallel Corners," where deft guitar player dances around a slithering rhythm section and more drowsy horns. It's one of the lighter tracks on the disc, and coming halfway through, is a nice breath of fresh air. In spots, such as the completely spacey "Amygdhala" and overlong "March Of The Swine," the disc loses a little bit of focus and sags some, but otherwise the release is a nice walk through mutant jazz territory (somewhat akin to Amon Tobin, with far less breaks) that should appeal to any fan of cinematic soundscapes.