THE KILIMANJARO DARKJAZZ ENSEMBLE - The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble - The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble

11 songs
69:07 minutes
***** ****


Founded in the year 2000 by two Dutch art students, The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble soon recruited musicians from England, Switzerland and France, making their band a true pan-European endeavour. With the idea of creating scores for silent movies from the likes of Murnau and Lang, it was obvious from the start that the artists were aiming for something quite visual in style.

The band name makes you expect some parallels to Bohren und der Club of Gore who popularised the dark jazz genre, but this is only partly the case with TKDE. Denovali Records decided to re-release their eponymous debut album which was recorded between 2000 and 2005. Initially released on the quality electro label Planet Mu, the record is of course anything but a typical jazz record, even though the opener The Nothing Changes is still a rather purebred dark jazz piece. The following Lobby starts in a similarly elegiac way, but soon adds programmed beats and ominously droning bass lines. Even wilder is Pearls For Swine, undisputedly the album’s highlight and an unpredictable rollercoaster ride through the different faces of the band, from the serene opening to the punching electronic beats and culminating eventually in an abrasive techno part.

Even though these first three tracks display the breadth of the ensemble’s modus operandi, the middle part, while not as adventurous, makes still for some exquisite listening. I especially want to point out two of the latter tracks, Amygdhala and Guernican Perspectives, which although much moodier still manage to conjure a surreal landscape within your mind. The album ends with the twenty minute long March Of The Swine which builds upon motives of the preceding Pearls For Swine.

All too often, so called soundtrack bands are nice to listen to but rarely manage to truly excite, but The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble is a laudable exception. Their blending of gloomy jazz with intelligent electro sounds culminates in something unforeseen that should warm the hearts of fans of the most diverse persuasions, from post rock over indie to doom/drone.

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