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AKKU Quintet: Kinema

Minimalist jazz oriented sounds aren’t my most natural surrounds but the 2019 offering from AKKU Quintet, Depart, grabbed and held my attention in a manner I really hadn’t anticipated. Four years down the line and the outfit led by composer and drummer Manuel Pasquinelli are back with the enigmatically named (and sparsely but beautifully packaged) Kinema. With the rest of the outfit completed by Maja Nydegger (grand piano, keys), Michael Gilsenan (sax, FX), Markus Ischer (guitar) and Andi Schnellmann (bass), the Quintet continue down the path laid out previously, with patience on their and the listener’s part key to any understanding as to what’s going on.

Personally I’d suggest that Film Noir would also have been an apt title for this release, darkness and foreboding the name of the game as threatening atmospheres and shadowy shapes catch the corner of your mind through the multi-part “Ink”. You’d certainly never guess that it’s the percussionist in the band who leads and composes here, drums or even beats, while present and intriguing, seldom the focus. Instead Pasquinelli allows all of his players to step into the light - well, gloom - and steer this beast as they choose. Often that means that Gilsenan on FX and Ischer on guitar are grinding and grating fuzzily over spartan keyboard strikes that serve by way of melody. However, with tone and mood always at the heart of what motivates, the drip, drip, drip of ideas - and ideals - works a treat.

The aforementioned “Ink” may well in many ways feel like the central point of the album, but the angular yet somehow melodic “Morph” offers something a little different, whereas “Kinema” feels more like a repetitious, hypnotic experience played out across a variety of backdrops. For me, it’s the opening “Zephyr” that cleverly provides the easiest ‘in’, a meandering piano line playing against pensive guitar and a moody but yet ever so slightly glistening undertone which catches the ear and refuses to release its grip.

Engaging and yet slightly aloof, Kinema offers an immediate payback on first listen that still only hints at what repeat visits will eventually reveal. This is immersive music for those able and willing to give themselves over to it rather than those living in the hope of of being ‘blindly dazzled’ at every turn.

Track Listing
1. Zephyr
2. Kinema
3. Ink
4. Morph

Added: September 13th 2023
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: AKKU Quintet @ bandcamp
Hits: 413
Language: english

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