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Kammerflimmer Kollektief
(Afterhours/Bubble Core)

Perhaps it's a good thing that the Kammerflimmer Kollektief are releasing 3 albums in the United States in the matter of just over 3 months. That way, they can get their difficult debut, their sophomore slump, and their follow-up third release all out before anyone knows what hit them. As mentioned in my review for their Mäander release, the "shimmering collective" is from Germany and this short release (clocking in at 6 songs and just over 30 minutes, it's more like an EP), the group becomes even more of a group, with more than one person participating on every other track (Thomas Weber does the rest by himself, just like the rest of the former release).

One of the strange things about the solo versus group tracks (solos are odd, group are even numbered) is that there really isn't any discernable difference between the two. The one big difference is that when in group form, they tend to stray more towards some mutant hybrid of jazz that take much longer to get going whereas Weber usually gets things rolling right away with his.

The album opens up with the album titled track of "Hysteria" and a nice progression on the upright bass playing while a couple drones and a high-pitched feedback hum spills out. The track works like a battle between the two elements, with the soothing bass winning out sometimes while the static and haze drowns things out at other times. "Seen (Not Seen)" is the first of the collaborative tracks on the disc and while it takes awhile to build, it eventually coagulates into something slightly jazzy.

Probably my favorite track on the disc is the third entitled "Engel Wacht." It's a haunting, mysterious track with a dreary bassline (think of something pulled straight out of a great film noir) that adds in chimes and some odd horn squeaks for sort of a "soundtrack for a sleepy city" feel. After a squiggling, freestyle collaborative track that doesn't work very well, the album closes out nicely with another quiet but beautiful track from Weber and probably the best collaborative track in "Mohn!" The album closing track finally feels like the group has put all their talents together and created something, rather than everyone noodling about at the same time and hoping something falls in line.

Overall, it's a decent release, but one that I know I won't find myself listening to as much as Mäander. While there are definitely some interesting things going on, it sort of feels like this is the groups "in-between" album in terms of gelling their sounds into something that is consistently good. The wait will be sort for their third release, though, as it comes out very soon as well.

Rating: 6.25