An issue of life cycle diminishing through an excess of sensory data, the limiting applied to events, and their timespans conducive of finding a true ideal point from where connection is activated and severed…often this is ushered by leftfield thought from formulae. Kabooom Karavan’s creator Bram Bosteels applies leftfield thinking to the noir-laden Modern Classical template with a revolving counterpoint aesthetic. As if dumbbell-heavy clouds of noise are weighing down the aural minefield. And it’s a minefield with many explosive moments.
“Kolik” commences proceedings with an ominous saxophone/violin hybrid timbre cloud, blending instruments so they become extensions of a further field. The mood is one of relinquished abandon, building layer upon layer of textural weight before, at 2:30, introducing an undercutting bass morsel to poke at the forefront. Its effects on the listener beckon a Machinefabriek-esque toxicology to membrane and memory combined, setting up a captivating album worthy of much more than journalistic hyperbole.
“Omsk” starts with primitive chanting sounds and a rhythmic orienteering befitting the most abrasive The Thing. Jazzy chords and demonic bass quakes ripple at the surface while sparks of sarky violin jabs at the inner core. The implemented touchstone is something akin to shrugged off paralysis that scary music can bring. And this is a scary record, no two ways about it. But it’s also one of much beauty, an inversion of stasis that carries with it charm and fortitude of delivery.
“Kipkap” is the first piece to integrate the acoustic guitar, and slack strumming ain’t hay here. Chanting akin to the Flamenco tradition adorns the repetitive figure and surfeits of saxophone keys sound out the overall picture like a Jazz cafe with saints of the brotherhood. Melody rides on two chords with snippets of noise from other instruments, whereas “Lovzar” straddles greater heights of imperfect solemnity, forever looking for improvement on its own axis. The acoustic gently plays away to itself over a resonant slumber tide, vocal samples permeating its relationship with gravity, with looking upward and even around to other things in the room.
“Kartoon Kannibal” begins with a bright vista of beats sounding like filling up a glass of juice. The atmosphere is impregnated by a specific tension that wraps its way into and over your ears, a poison dart of much salvation. Loud vocal judderings leap out at the listener in a frantic yet constrained joie de vivre, panting by the end as if time has swallowed its own larynx. “Barbaroi” starts in the same way that the last contained its succor with lower volume. It’s very busy but at the same time absolved of any responsibility to do anything, which makes the trolley-like percussion movement and saxophone progressions more poignant when they happen. Sharper sounds intrude later, and the percussion builds its artillery to a resonant matrix.
“En Avant !” is the jolliest of all tunes here, working in vocal samples of children playing and a party popper centred horn sound. Oompah-loompah bass meanders a story it told oneself earlier, blending into “The A Theme” with a virtue to survive a creepy, earth-searing joy. This time the electric guitar is the driving instrument, bobbing through interwoven passages of Jazz swing drums and mesmerising leitmotifs. Saxophone is again an auxiliary function that makes its mark on the record in another incarnation.
“Sardonis” shapes up as the most electronically minded of all the works on the album, bouncing like Amon Tobin’s “Four Ton Mantis” to a sprightly percussive diablo and high contrast reams of neo-classical glitter. Drum machine flickers syncopate the rhythm section and supplement the textural base with an underpinning melodic furore. Last piece “MIss Okee” is the really emotionally grounded tune on the LP, coming off somewhere between Brian Eno, Roger Eno, Daniel Lanois and Svarte Greiner for execution of a lavish, all the same dark tendril of bass synth exploration. Train track percussion – percussion once more – takes the hearer to a destination far off from the mainstream auditoriums, into a cavernous space full of wonder.
“Hokus Fokus” is a magical recording, sure to please and satiate the open-minded doom-mongers and shadier characters of the world, but also transcend this audience by sheer depth of material. Undoubtedly recommendable, and another release for Miasmah with all the stops pulled out!