After blowing me away with a debut release (that was largely the work of one man - Thomas Weber), the Kammerflimmer Kollektief disappointed me with each of their subsequent releases. Always one to give someone a second (or third) chance, I bided my time for the domestic release (it was released on Staubgold in Europe) of Cicadidae and settled in with the group once more. Once again, the sound of the group has changed somewhat, but this time it's for the better. Whereas the debut Mäander mixed sampled beats and a healthy dose of noise with some instrumentation, their second (Hysteria) and third (Incommunicado) were varying degrees of improvised and slightly deconstructed jazz that also found the one-man operation expanding into a full-fledged group.
Whereas those last two releases were simply too loose and rough around the edges to hold my attention much, Cicadidae really feels like the group coming together and working as a solid unit. In 10 tracks and just over 40 minutes, the release exudes a warm calm that works in subtle ways and actually seems to move in the exact opposite of their random noise freakouts of previous efforts. From the opening track of "Neumond Inselhin," it's clear that this is a different release from the group. An upright bass and very quiet percussion provide a thin skeleton on which quiet rises of strings, guitar melodies, and processed noise (including a slight harsh moment around the mid-point) and chimes ride. It's celestial electronic jazz, and it's one of the best tracks that the group has done to date.
Elsewhere, the group mixes a touch of spaghetti western in with their sound ("...Denn Nacht Ist Jetzt Schon Bald!"), slow-burning, dark lounge ("Blood"), and even a touch of dub ("Eiderdauned (Gerupft)"). As can probably be surmised from the above, the release is cinematic as all get-out. "Sie Tranken Regen (Version)" is all alternately quivering and hushed layers of strings and horns that slowly slink around one another and build into a haunting close while "Mantra" mixes some dusky piano and guitar into another slow-burner that pays off with a nice tension.
There are a lot of groups right now that are doing their own take on jazz and electronic music, but like Jaga Jazzist and the Tied And Tickled Trio, Kammerflimmer Kollektief is definitely carving out their own path. It's different than either of those groups, yet fans of either would probably find something to enjoy in this release (although it inhabits much quieter corners). As with other times a group has came back and surprised me after letting me down a bit, I'm glad I gave the group another chance.