Kammerflimmer Kollektief - Hysteria [Quecksilber - 2004]Last year, Kammerflimmer Kollektief released Cicadae, a superb electrojazz album although it sounded a little too cold (in a clinical way) to my ears. This summer, Quecksilber re-release their long deleted Hysteria ep with 17 minutes of new music added.
At first, KK was a one-man experimental project. Thomas Weber expanded KK to a six-piece in 1999, going from experimental electronic music to straighter jazz. While there is no doubt about the talent of all involved and the quality of the compositions, whatever I heard from them lacked emotions. beautiful, yet distant. A bit like a gorgeous, distinguished young woman who lets you know you're not part of the same world. However, it shouldn't spoil your lsitening pleasure.
The title track is a very meditative, peaceful track. The sound of an upright bass, static noise, violin plucks, a little bit of saxophone... It's a solo track, so it's only on Seen (not seen) that you will heard the band for the first time. Heavily based a slow build up led by a drum march of some sorts and a saxophone, it ends before it really got anywhere exciting. More straightforward is Engel wacht, a somptuous jazzy funeral dirge. It's a solo track, where Weber adds to his usual guitar melodies and static noise some always welcome wind chime and discreet percussions. Spine-shivering, in the best way you can think of. Following this piece was bound to prove difficult, and KK didn't really do themselves a favour with Auguri, auguri a more experimental track, but most of a all a failure... Much better is Du siehst hoch; du siehst Wolken. Once again, the build-up is rather slow, and it doesn't seem like it's going anywhere, but this time it works thanks to the subtile interplay between strings and electronics. New track Zikaden, vielleicht is some dull experimentation. Strange, because I like the more avant bits on Cicadidae, but here it doesn't work. Mohn! is a much more straightfoward thing, but it doesn't lack subtelty. Once again, the upright bass is extremely important, and this time it is accompanied by an acoustic guitar, saxophone and the usual static noise soundscapes. Great work, although a bit short of feelings. Album closer is a new version of Du siehst hoch; du siehst Wolken., dronier, more ambient. It has its moments, but it's by no means compelling.
Half-interesting, half-dull. It's my verdict on Hysteria. However, a track like Engel wacht is worth the money asked for the CD. If only all Kammerflimmer Kollektief's tracks were as emotionally charged, they would be the best band in the world.François Monti