Saturday, February 11, 2012

REVIEW: The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble – Live: I Forsee The Dark Ahead, If I Stay

As evident by their name, the Dutch septet The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble (TDKE) don't shy away from embracing their influences. By no means does this suggest, however, that TKDE stray from their own peculiar breed of Dark Jazz. Glitch beats, operatic vocals, and post-rock structures set them far apart from their predecessors. No one sounds like TKDE, and no one probably ever will.

'I Forsee the Dark Ahead, If I Stay', TKDE's third full-length, is the group's only live release. Though the album collects nine live tracks from the past five years, I Forsee attempts to hold onto a tangible concept. Does it succeed? Someways yes, someways no. Beautiful vocals on “Mists of Krakatoa” rub shoulders with subtle pianos and low-register strings to evoke an image of a trek into the mystic peak. “Symmetry of 6's,” however, throws us back into an ocean's depths where shivering guitars, lush violins, and whispering trumpets guide us through a blissful underwater world. It's song like these, despite each painting its own stark image, that don't allow the album to come together to form a cohesive concept.

Though hints of artists like Angelo Badalamenti and Bohren & Der Club Of Gore are there, what defines 'I Forsee the Dark Ahead, If I Stay' are its iconoclastic elements. No more are the beats, vocals, and abstract structures mere blurred expressions against ornate orchestrations like they were on their debut. They are the driving forces behind each of the album's compositions that offer a truly memorable experience. It's evident TKDE are growing ever closer to their artistic peak they've been climbing for years, and I'm definitely excited to see in the near future what the view is from the top.

Standout Tracks: Mists of Krakatoa, Symmetry of 6's, Nothing Changes/Senki Dala/Embers

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