Creepy crawly darkjazz combo. Soundtracks for imaginary movies. The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble are a group of highly credited artists, based in the Netherlands, that materialised just over a decade ago. Their founders include Gideon Kiers and Jason Köhnen (best known as electronic artist Bong-Ra), with the band quickly attaining more and more talented members to arrive at the current seven, and subsequently have a signiﬁcant sound spectrum with a multiplex of analogue and digital specialists and multi-instrumentalists within the septet.
The ensembles initial inspiration was the interesting idea of composing new, non-diegetic music for existing silent movies, such as Nosferatu and Metropolis. Of course, they are well suited to this job; their background of trained musicianship allows them to strike a delicate balance between organic atmosphere and technique. The result is the production of deeply emotive music. Live, the band combine heavily effected neo-apocalyptic compositions and improvisations with unnerving visual effects; it looks and sounds like the annual rave of the American Nihilist Underground Society.
‘Live – I Forsee the Dark Ahead if I Stay’, is their ﬁrst live production, made up of select tracks from previous releases. On the album the ensemble effortlessly toy with the boundaries of jazz (or doom-jazz as some would call it), post-rock and electronica. Their style combines heavy guitar drones and distorted licks, with consistent yet volatile trip-hop / jazz inﬂuenced drums. Their vocals vary between providing scary operatic textures to atmospheric swamps, which both compliment the synth pads and software hums that underlie the music.
When listening to ʻLive – I Forsee the Dark Ahead if I Stay,ʼ the album has a powerful dissociative effect. This is especially potent in the track ʻNothing Changes / Senki Dala / Embersʼ, and also ʻGoyaʼ, complete with intricate late night diner trumpet, that ﬁlls your soul with ﬁlm-noir. Other tracks like ʻThe Macgufﬁnʼ simply sound like your being pulled backwards through a rip in the space time continuum.
The variety on this album is to be noted, with more approachable tracks like ʻMists Of Krakatoaʼ, which could be likened to Portisheadʼs evil twin sister – essentiallym the album contains a composition for every blissfully sinister indulgence going.
‘Live – I Forsee the Dark Ahead if I Stay’ is available as a free download here.