Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble – Mutations EP [2009]

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble’s first self-titled LP on Ad Noiseam sounds like what you would expect from a jazz band on a dark electro label – plaintive horns atop subterranean drones and subdued violins, underpinned with percussion that weaves between quiet brush strokes and clicky IDM.  It’s good stuff, but I wasn’t terribly excited by the band until I heard this year’s Mutations EP.  
Mutations sheds much of the jazz trappings from the first album favor of languorous tones, acoustic and electric, draped over minimal electronic percussion.  I can’t disagree with anyone who would call this a collection of ambient music – on paper it certainly sounds like it - but ambient to me has always equated to “low impact” and this is anything but.  Lush sweeps of sound slide slowly atop each other like cirrus clouds, evoking candlelight and shadow and humid summer nights.  Each song is impelled by the largely unobtrusive percussion that nevertheless manages to help build the tracks to a climax that is subtle and so long in coming that when the harmonic or melodic tension is resolved, it comes as a surprise to the listener just how invested he or she had become in the buildup.
TKDE have a new album, Here be Dragons, coming out in October, for which this EP is intended to be a bridge.  Download this, and then preorder that when you find out how great this is.

01 - Caos Calmo
02 - München
03 - Serpents
04 - Twisted Horizons
05 - Shadows
06 - Symmetry of 6's
07 - Horns of King David
08 - Avian Lung

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