Since first forming back in 2000 around the core duo of Jason Kohnen (best known for his breakcore-centred work as Bong-Ra) and Gideon Kiers with the intent of soundtracking silent films, Dutch outfit The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble have grown into a seven member collective that these days includes Chrome Hoof’s Sadie Anderson amongst its lineup. On the heels of last year’s ‘From The Stairwell’ collection, this latest download-only release ‘I Foresee The Dark Ahead If I Stay’ offers up TKDE’s first live album, and comes comprised of nine tracks taken from right throughout the group’s discography recorded on tour in various parts of Europe between 2006-2011. As a collection, it certainly represents the ideal introduction for those previously unfamiliar with TKDE, as well as one that arguably showcases the group’s enveloping, cinematic atmospheres in their ideal setting.
From the very outset there’s certainly an emphasis upon foreboding melancholy as hinted by the title, with ‘Celladoor’ drawing the curtain amidst ominous ebbing bass tones and chiming treated guitar chords, the background swell of wordless vocals and swirling instrumentation bringing things up out of the darkness, before ‘Lobby’ sees slow live drums and wandering bass providing the rhythmic propulsion for Sun-Ra-esque walls of brass and Charlotte Cegarra’s soaring vocal harmonies in what’s easily one of this collection’s standout highlights, and one that sits somewhere equally between the likes of the Constellation label and The Cinematic Orchestra’s opulent grace. Elsewhere, ‘Symmetry Of 6s’ spends its six minutes wandering from a dark ambient opening section consisting of ominous electronic whirs and spidery guitar murmurs into a rich sweep of melancholy jazz horns and weary-sounding live drums that’s easily the most mellow and post-rock tinged offering here, while 15 minute long closing track ‘The MacGuffin’ takes things out with a nightmarish wander out into howling, atonal jazz horns and growling, fuzzed-out bass distortion, the entire track seeming to slowly dissolve within its own corrosive atmosphere. A consistently impressive collection that manages to vividly document TKDE’s spectacular live show; you can download ‘I Foresee The Dark Ahead If I Stay’ for free from the TKDE site.