The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble - From The Stairwell

8 songs
62:40 minutes
***** ***


I definitely can’t complain about a lack of The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble these last few months. Late last year, Denovali re-released the Dutch based collective’s excellent debut from 2006, and in very early 2011, the followed this up with a new CD by the band’s alias The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation. All of this to prepare us for the brandnew TKDE album? If that is so, we can say that we have now been rewarded by a mature new effort from this strange band that, although never straying far from its trademark sound, is still always able to reinvent itself.

From The Stairwell feels a lot more structured to me, and I mean this in a good way. Take for instance the opener All Is One, with five minutes the album’s shortest track, starting in its typical dark jazz way before turning into a bar jazz song with sultry female vocals and a husky trumpet part. The following Giallo veers into a more soundtrack-like territory and surprises with some dramatic moments. White Eyes is a long piece of melancholia with a haunting guitar line and fractured female vocals. The nearly twelve minute long Cocaine is a psychedelic nightmare, less musical that what preceded, but a nice break nonetheless. The second half of the CD continues the pattern with three more regular tracks before the record ends on another experimental twelve minute monster titled Past Midnight.

From The Stairwell is once again an excellent piece of soundtrack-like music from a band consisting of gifted musicians that know how to create haunting pieces of dark jazz that will take you into the deepest depths of your inner self. Striking a perfect balance between the more accessible and the truly nightmarish, The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble have come up with their most mature statement so far.

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