Kammerflimmer Kollektief - Incommunicado
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Kammerflimmer Kollektief
Incommunicado

In terms of a nice progression and introduction, the Kammerflimmer Kollektief probably couldn't have done a much better job than they have this year with their 3 different releases (of which, this is the third). Up first was Mäander, a long release that was the work of one man, Thomas Weber, and it mixed sampled beats with varying degrees of white noise and other instrumentation. Next up, came the shorter release of Hysteria, which was half solo pieces (by Weber) and half freestyle, freakout jazz pieces by the fully assembled group. It was a little more hit-and-miss (to me anyway), but was a nice transition to this latest release, which is 6 more pieces created by the full band.

Incommunicado apparently translates to "Improvisations," and that loose style translates to the tracks on the release. Comprised of six different members (including Weber on guitar), the group mixes saxophone, drums, guitar, double bass, synth, and violin to a sometimes lulling and othertimes jarring effect. That dynamic is explored on the very first track on the album, entitled "Nachtwach" (which roughly translates to "Awake At Night"). The track slowly builds with some slinky horns over the strummed bass and snaking violin before totally busting loose into a couple different loud outbursts of sax and percussion.

The second track "Gras" runs an epic length of almost 13 minutes and again uses a slow burn to build up tension. An introductory part of the track slowly chugs along before dropping almost completely off for awhile, only held up with the slight quivering of violin and light horn squeaks. Only within the last couple minutes of the track, do things only slightly come together, though, and as a listener I feel left wanting more. Even the one-minute freestyle burst of "Rand" following immediately afterwards doesn't seem like enough. From there, the group reworks the Robert Wyatt track "Venti Latir" very nicely as a gently swaying, violin driven piece, before closing out with the somewhat aimless "Kissen" and minute-long string-screeching of "Holler."

One of the things about the release is that it's somewhat annoying that it only runs just over 30 minutes. It could have easily been combined with also short Hysteria, for one album, starting out with the work by Weber and then working into more of the collaborative pieces. As it stands, there are some real moments of great music on the release, but it definitely leaves me wanting more. There are moments within the first two tracks that are excellent, and the Wyatt track is very nice, but other than that the album really fails to take hold. Perhaps it's partially due to the fact that the tracks on the release were improvised, but it still feels like the group is trying to settle into things. Hopefully by the time their next release comes out (which shouldn't be too long), their sound will have hit it's stride. For a more focused (and interesting) version of the same sort of sound, I'd recommend the recent Blue Series - Continuum by Spring Heel Jack and others.

rating: 5.7510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00