Here Be Dragons
(2009 - Ad Noiseam - Germany)

Having also recorded under the name The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation (for the EP Called Succubus), The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble carry on with an exotic slowcore fusion of electronic, outside jazz, ambient, and otherworldly atmosphere. This could very well be a Hector Zazou release. This is the 2nd full release by the band and is more loaded with details than their debut. At first I immediately heard the ghost of the finest Extreme label band, Pablo’s Eye. Seeing this is one of my favorite ambient ‘elsewhere’ recordings of all time, it was a thrill to find another band with similar approach. You can also hear some of the same atmosphere created by Extreme label bands like Soma and Mo Boma. Anyone familiar with any of these bands just imagine a more haunting ECM release (slices of Terje Rypdal “Waves”, Barre Phillps “Three Day Moon”) with Jon Hassell and Hector Zazou at the helm. TKDE’s previous music has been described as 'horror jazz’ and this is due to the fact that their influences and inspiration were the horror movie soundtracks genre. This new album “Here Be Dragons” really does get more involved and spread over a much more delicate and array of styles. Always relaxing, but so thought provoking, as each piece moves with a lot of textures and perfectly composed songs. It would be wrong to think this CD is some dull ambient long winded set of songs.The listener will be rewarded with complex and very creative compositions.

The 7 members from various parts of the world (mainly Holland and Germany, but also from Switzerland and France) are exceptional musicians. You also get some beautiful female voice (sometimes choral) and vocals by Charlotte Cegarra. You might find yourself comparing her to Julie Cruise of Twin Peaks music fame. No doubt the David Lynch atmosphere is here. This is hands down, one of the most interesting and captivating progressive ambient/outside jazz releases I have had the pleasure to own and enjoy. Using atypical instruments like beats, FX, double bass, fretless bass, piano, vocals, Rhodes, xylophone, trombone, guitar, violin and cello- this band gets it right! Dreamy, airy, exotic, haunting, experimental and cerebral all at the same time.

So let me sum it up by saying it’s a very open and aquatic, simultaneously dark and warm marriage of Pablo’s Eye, Jon Hassell, Hector Zazou, with nods to the more celestial ECM recordings, and even touches of Sigur Ros and God is an Astronaut. It has been a joy listening to and writing about this music for this reviewer.

  ©Reviewed by Lee Henderson on August 8th, 2010


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