Kammerflimmer Kollektief Jinx

[Staubgold; 2007]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: melodramatic neo-traditional, unhinged chamber music
Others: Wilco, Blonde Redhead, Beck

My vantage point is sufficiently warped from standard norms, such that I can’t definitively say that Kammerflimmer is not avant-garde, but I’ll assert that they aren't anyhow. There are no rock guitars, hooks, or comprehensible vocals, but this is music that can usually be appreciated, at the very least, by your average Beck or Wilco fan. And it's by no mistake that I name these two artists; the meat and potatoes of Jinx is its sweeping grandiosity that can also be found in, at least to my ears, those artists' best works. Jinx is perhaps a cut above their execution, though, and it is certainly an exponentiation of their melodrama. But, don’t take that as disparagement; when a putative fan of grandiosity listens to the grandiose, they want their heartstrings to be caressed and cajoled to maximum effect. At least, mine does.

Nine times out of ten, Kammerflimmer is luxe arrangements of harmonium and bassy strings with effects. The meat and potato-y core. But, lover of weird that I am, it’s the emotively barked vocals of “Jinx” and “Both Eyes Tight Shut” and the gothic glaze over “Gammler, Zen & Hohe Berge” and “Subnarkotisch” that are the sizzle that sells me the steak. Heike Aumüller’s singing is certainly the star of the show. It's a regrettably shy one, but that gives it all the more effect when it's ushered into the spotlight. That isn’t to soft-pedal everything else, however. More often than not, I end up hearing what I’d have loved for traditional chamber music to have evolved into: music played spontaneously by a contemporary yet primeval father and uncle, once made dreary and slightly sinister by dinner and drinks, inadvertently spilling both their souls and demons.

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