Kammerflimmer Kollektief - Absencen [Staubgold - 2005]From it’s beginnings as Thomas Weber one man’s thing, Kammerflimmer Kollektief has evolved a lot. First, he started to ask people to come and join him. They recorded Cicadae, a brilliant albeit too cold album. With Absencen, KK has become a band, a real one. They give warmth and greatness. They are alone in their own league. Good stuff.
Absencen opens on what probably is their best song so far. Lichterloh is a gorgeous thing, it has everything you need: harmonium, glockenspiel, drums, sax, double bass, trumpet, lapsteel guitar, Wurlitzer, violin…and emotions. Almost a first for the clinical Karlsruhe sextet. It makes for a great sort of cinematic jazz without all the tackiness of so many of those “cinematic” bands.
Nachtwache has a definite favour of film noir scores. A sort of modern days Ascenseur pour l’échafaud. So far so good, Absencen is giving me what I had always hoped since I first heard the Kollektief’s music. With Hausen comes the first surprise: they have invented country jazz. Yes, Sir. Country music, just like in the films of John Wayne. From time to time, this influence shows up. It is especially the case on the beautiful Unstet (für Jeffrey Lee Pierce), a mix of slow mournful country music and beautiful drones.
Shibboleth is another exceptional song, in the vein of Lichterloh. Stars of the show are the saxophones of Helmut Dinkel and Dietrich Foth and Heike Wendelin’s violin. It’s undeniably KK-trademarked, but it has a little plus, with its quasi eastern European vibes…
Some pieces on Absencen are more abstracts, being textured, moody things. A fine example of this can be found on Equilibrium and on the first half of “Die vögel draussen ihre ungereine Melodie”.
Absencen is a collection of very unique tracks. Together, they form a very seducing ensemble, very emotional, almost sexual. This is Kammerflimmer Kollektief’s best album so far.François Monti