Kammerflimmer Kollektief - Cicadidae [Staubgold - 2003]Third album from Thomas Weber’s collective, Cicadidae is full of gorgeous quiet melodies at the intersection between Jazz and Electro.
This is Kammerflimmer Kollektief’s third album but I didn’t get the chance to listen to the first two. However I’m told that Thomas Weber use to indulge to quite hermetic sonic experiments. If that’s true, things have changed. KK is now more than a one man project: they are 6, all of them (some more often than others) credited for writing the music. And almost a big band: Drums, vibraphone, saxophone, double bass, violin, guitar, harmonium, piano and of course some soundprocessing and other electronic treatments.
Apparently, improvisation is a central part to Kammerflimmer’s music. Some songs are composed and programmed out of improvised bits and other times, the Kollektief improvises on “programmed patterns”. Unlike many modern electronic/jazzy ensemble (such as Jaga Jazzist or Cinematic Orchestra), the music remains quiet throughout the whole record, with no burst of high-octane energised passage.
The overall mood is very contemplative, quiet and melancholic. Peaceful would probably be the most suited word to describe the music here. As I said before what we have here is a mixture of jazz, electronica, oddly calm free-jazz, non-abrasive glitch and post-rock. Cicadidae starts very well with Neumond inselhin, an excellent track relying a lot on strings and discreet glitches. Things get even better with the way too short (49’’) Sie tranken regen and its nice guitar melody and delicate piano. Guitars come back prominently on ...den Nacht ist jetzt schon bald!, a great song with great brass section. Sie tranken regen is an extremely melancholic piece with strings and saxhopone intertwined in the best of way. Mantra with its more present electro beat and glitches and its subtle piano reminds me of a less dark, slower Ulver Perdition City-era (review here). Irgendwann: Frühling stars Christopher Brunner vibraphone and a lot of little noises made on drums, guitars, double bass and violin. The album closes with “There’s a weight on you but you can’t feel it”, another very short (1’49’’) superb track. A classy ending...
If there is one thing to hold against the band, it has to be that Cicadidae seems, at times, not lively enough. The sound is very clean, nothing is over the top. This makes a classy album, albeit a tad too cold. But there is no denying the quality of the musicianship, the great songs and the extremely relaxing and peaceful mood of this CD.François Monti