Review Summary: A very dark (hence the name) blend of electronic and jazz. Though sometimes a bit too dull and dreary, it is a generally solid album full of interesting soundscapes.
The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz ensemble's self-titled debut is an interesting, sometimes beautiful album that blends jazz and electronic styles. Though not too distant from other bands of similar nature such as Jaga Jazzist or the Cinematic Orchestra, Kilimanjaro Darkjazz chisel out their own niche with a much darker and moodier sound. Using both an array of organic instruments such as guitars and cellos, accompanied by the glitches and ambient swirls of electronic noise makers the album feels like it can breathe and takes on a life of it's own. The electronic aspect is often held to background noise, though it sometimes creeps into the forefront with the soft break beats on such tracks as Pearls For Swine. The album as a whole is an excellent source of ambient jazz that serves one very well as background music.
The album is full of great, smooth ambient work the is accented by the organic side of the band. Opener The Nothing Changes is a perfect example of this, with ambient noise joined by a haunting guitar line. Eventually the bass and drums join the fray, and the track slinks along maintaining a smooth, low key pace throughout. Many songs throughout, such as Adaptation of the Koto Song, Lobby and Solomon's Curse, have a similar style as this, and at times it can become a tiresome routine. Luckily, the album doesn't generally place these similar type songs right next to each other. They are broken up by more upbeat or faster songs. Parallel Corners, a personal favourite, and Rivers of Congo both have a more upbeat feel to them. Parallel Corners' chiming guitar line is backed by a bouncy bassline, and a tom heavy percussion rhythm. Rivers of Congo can also be ascribed to a similarily happier guitar melody, and bouncy bassline.
Most of the songs on the album are good solid efforts, however I find two songs tend to drag it down towards the end. Amygdhala is just way too ambient, with nothing much else going on in the song to look forward to, it comes and goes with nothing really too memorable happening. Luckily the song is one of the shorter tracks on the album, the same can not be said for the album closer, March of the Swine. Clocking in at 20 minutes, March of the Swine is simply WAY too long for it's own good. It starts off well enough, much the same as Vegas or Lobby starts, with a lot of atmospherics and electronic elements. Unfortunately after about 4 minutes, you start to wonder if anything else is going to happen. While the theme does change, it does seem all too similar to the original theme. This next section lasts for awhile, and starts to get pretty good around the 11 minute mark, with some louder break beats coming into the fray. Inexplicably, this dies off, and rather then ending there, the song remains pretty much silent for the next 3 or 4 minutes, with but the slightest of swirls at the very end. It is a dissapointing end to what has been a generally very good album.
Overall, the dark tones and excellent mix of electronic and organic instrumentation keep this album generally interesting throughout it's duration. Some excellent jazzy and ambient passages do sometimes get weighed down by the lack of more upbeat tempos. The whole album seems to be hushed, whispered to the listener. While at times, this is very good (late night walks, homework and whatnot) it can also be dreary and tiresome at times. Again, the album is also held down by an unfathomably long closer (much in the same vain as say, On Avery Island). Still, I would recommend this, not to a casual music listener, but to one who is looking for something a little different, or who is very much into ambient, electronic, or jazz music.