The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble

From The Stairwell

Written by: DR on 07/06/2011 23:12:00

"this album sets the foundation for them to go and create a genuinely immersive and wonderful listening experience on future albums." is how I concluded my review of The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble's self-titled debut, and although I'd love to claim it was semi-prophetic of me, I can't. In reality, it was more a cheeky way of me leading off from one review and into the next because I had already spent many hours listening to their third album "From The Stairwell", and believe me, it really is a genuinely immersive and wonderful listening experience.

Having missed the segue second album "Here Be Dragons", I can't comment on whether "From The Stairwell" is a natural progression from that, but there definitely has been progression from their debut to this. Where that release relied heavily on warped electronics at the forefront of the compositions, now they're quieter in mix, instead relying more on sounds from 'traditional' instruments such as piano, cello, trombone, even delving further into jazz water by using instruments such as a saxophone and bass clarinet. They've even picked up a vocalist in Charlotte Cegarra.

Now the electronic element has been dialled back, we're left with what was mostly the layers of what was formerly underneath. As a result, the sombre soundscapes generally aren't as busy, meaning there's more room for each instrument to breathe. The horn and bass opening of "All is One" grows sinisterly until, as if by command, back down for Cegarra's bewitching vocals atop a piano - neither of which would be out of place in a smoky 50s jazz club. It sets up the rest of the album perfectly by demonstrating their handle on increasing the listener's tension by increasing the intensity of the music, yet deliberately never reaching breaking point.

Throughout the album there are examples of TKDE's desire to experiment even more than before (yes, that is possible). There's an effect in the distance of "Giallo" not too dissimilar to screaming and then at the end there are haunting female whispers that adds to the suspense created. One of the highlights "Cocaine", is in their own words, "Naked people with pig heads crawl on the floor, on the walls, on the ceiling." A howling wind swirls through the door, creating various sounds as it collides with whatever is in its path. Using static electronic-noise, irregular keyboard tones and the unhurried beating of a drum, this song takes influence from industrial music, relegating the lonely saxophone to wailing in the background. This is undoubtedly the weirdest song on the album, and it's also one of the best for it.

"From The Stairwell" is a thoroughly cohesive listen, and another example of the members' ability to create some of the most dissonant, dejected, desolating and delightful moods an album could inflict upon you. Sink yourself into this album and discover where the stairwell leads you.


Download: Cocaine, Celladoor, All is One, Cotard Delusion
For The Fans of: The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation, A Backward Glance On A Travel Road
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 25.03.2011
Denovali Records

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