Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep: The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble : "The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble" (Planet Mu)

Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble : "The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble" (Planet Mu)

Two things drew me to this album before I heard any of the music or read reviews. Firstly, if that isn't the best name for a band you've ever heard, then you are into some weird sounds. Secondly, the cover art is an enlarged and obscured ape-like head, not unlike King Kong's.

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, TKDE for short, is the work of two individuals, Jason Kohnen and Guido Kiers. Initially formed to experiment and re-work the music of films such as Nosfarateu and Metropolis in 2000. The duo have since added extra musicians to complete their vision as the ultimate audio/visual project. The band are self-titled "mutant jazz".

Their ambition has culminated on this album, released on Mike Paradinas' innovative Planet Mu label. This album is a sinister mix of 70's American detective show jazz, DJ Shadow beats and Aphex Twin style interludes. It intended to accompany the short horror films of the duo, and the eerie recurring themes throughout provide the relevant atmospheres.

Opening with the short "Nothing Changes", this sets the tone immediately and sounds scarily ominous. This quickly evaporates into "Pearls For Swine" which starts with a rather nice guitar melody, before thick DJ Shadow style breakbeats take over. Around the halfway mark, the track takes an unusual turn, with Venetian Snares style electronica, before returning to the relaxing guitar melody.

One of the good things about this album is its unpredictability, one minute it is sweeping jazz, the next it is full on Aphex madness. It is also reminiscent of The Dust Brothers "Fight Club" soundtrack. One of the best examples of this is "Lobby", which combines guitar and synths with throbbing basslines and tense drumming. It leaves you wondering what is supposed to be happening in the films it is meant to accompany.

"Rivers of Congo" reminds me of car chases in TV programmes such as Quincy, it is all jazz time signatures, weird brass sounds and off-kilter basslines. It is pretty inventive stuff and again highlights the the different styles of this release.

The album continues along in this eclectic vain up until the last track, the epic "March of the Swine" which returns to the guitar melody of the opening track "The Nothing Changes". This time it is mixed with scary noises and spliced voices. I would not want to listen to this song alone in the dark. At nearly 20 minutes, "March of the Swine" is a tad long, but still has enough to keep you interested, as intense beats are introduced. It somehow manages to become more sinister sounding with each passing minute.

I haven't seen the film that this is supposed to accompany, I intend to do so soon. But, I imagine it will be something to do with the end of the world. There you have The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, the sound to the end of the world.


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