Klima Kalima – Finn Noir (2012)
Klima Kalima are a German experimental jazz band consisting of Kalle Kalima on guitar, Oliver Potratz on double bass, and Oliver Bernd Steidle on drums. This album, Finn Noir, is inspired by and dedicated to the film noir of Finnish directors, Matti Kassila, Aki Kaurismäki and Mikko Niskanen; all the track titles on the album are named after films by these directors.
I was astounded by this album. To begin with, you would have a hard time discerning this as jazz, but scratch the surface and all will be revealed.
The first two tracks form a suite about the journey of struggling jazz musician from St Petersberg to Leningrad: La Vie De Boheme (Part I: Saturday Night in St. Petersburg) is an aggressive distorted guitar-led track, sounding almost like a garage rock band, but the bass is the jazz keystone tethering the riot and giving direction, and as it becomes bowed and the guitars become choppy and settle, the garage veil is lifted and the jazz influence becomes apparent, before finally going savagely stratospheric. La Vie De Boheme (Part II: Sunday Morning in Leningrad) is the second part and a more obviously jazz track. It begins laid back, with the guitar and bass wandering and exploring the aural territory. Homage is paid to Pink Floyd as the intensity builds and the opening riff to Shine On You Crazy Diamond is played; showing Klima Kalima in touch with the progressive side of rock as well as the experimental side of jazz. The track then calms and plays out with some more of the bass/guitar exploration.
Ariel is bittersweet, with funky rhythm sections interspersed with sorrowful guitars; like the rest of the world will not allow the mourner to be alone, but instead to get back to living their life. Blues riffs are used liberal as motifs by the guitar and the effect is startlingly effective on both this and following track, Things Will Turn Out Right, a cover of a song from the film Man Without Past.
The next track, Maister I Margarita, could be placed anywhere from avant-metal through to jazz, at times sounding like Ruins or even Fantomas as complexity rules, and Klima Kalima feel at the same time loose, relaxed and natural and tight, on the mark, and in perfect cohesion as a single unit.
Two tracks are dedicated to the films of Inspector Palmu, It Is Gas Inspector Palmu and Stars Will Tell Inspector Palmu; and both are fantastic progressive jazz numbers, less experimental than some of the other tracks, but just as engaging. They bookend Cafe Brutale, a fantastic track that takes on many dimensions as the bowed bass adds much expression and alongside a splendid drum solo, and passages again sounding like they could be in the domain of complex rock or math rock bands.
Penultimate track, Calimari Union is a free jazz odyssey, while Eight Deadly Shots closes up the album in suitable experimental style.
In all, I was really struck with this album. The raw nature, experimental wit and visceral passion present on Finn Noir combine to make a fantastic album. I am truly
Favourite tracks: Ariel, Maister I Margarita, Cafe Brutale
Spotify link: Klima Kalima – Finn Noir
Sneak peak (I think this track is actually La Vie De Boheme (Part II: Sunday Morning in Leningrad)):