CD/LP/DL, staubgold 136

The art of Kammerflimmer Kollektief is deception. It is a persuasive and seductive art, resulting in incorrect assessments and doubtful perceptions. It is an art of disorientation and misdirection. In the Kollektief’s current production Désarroi (disorientation), their 10th and wildest album, they do it again: Welcome to the Kammerflimmery!
Right from first track, the Kollektief leaves its referential indicators. Heike Aumüllers free, unsentimental Harmonium played with a Sehnsucht (like a Free Jazz counterpart to Reggae producer and Melodica master Augustus Pablo, north of the Kaiserstuhl, not east of the river Nile), followed by Johannes Frisch’s magic double-bass, creaking and free-wheeling. Shortly after a dash of Swedish Biker- Rock passion, that makes you forget the benedictions of modernity – for a moment at least – until we come to the end of Désarroi, where we are brought back into the blessings of concrete-solid realities.
Clear articulated comprehensibility is definitively not one of the aims of the Kollektief’s sign systems. Rather, it masters the ancient art of secret-keeping, and it does it in times in which everyone reveals all of their intimacies without asking the rest of humanity whether or not we’d like to know them. The Kollektief clips musical and cultural fragments out of their cultural frameworks and pieces them enigmatically together. They have worked on this amalgam of FX-cultures, Psychedelica, Free Form, Dub, Improv, and ritual activities for a long time. These elements are gradually connected and placed in an opaque, vertical system, about as (non-)coherent as the constitutional laws of an alchemistic proto-science can be. The Kollektief takes only what is of use. And what is of use has usually a mythical crux.
What was once a bass becomes a creak. What was once a voice becomes a phoneme. What was once a guitar becomes a gnarly notion of "something strummed”. At the same time, the special effects that guitarist Thomas Weber extracts from his strange apparati, he masks as unidentifiable. Rather, they are incorporated as the seemingly "familiar" in the singular tone continuum of the Kammerflimmery. The strange, unreal impressions lurking as soundtrack behind these psych, improv, and editing wars might be regarded by the complete outsider as seemingly strange events. Like the shaman, who in the morning simply hangs up his magic roots for drying to prepare them for his nightly ecstatic routines, the Kollektief adds something ordinary and familiar to its rituals. Maybe that’s why they cover "Zurück zum Beton" (Back to Concrete), the 1980 hit by West-German punk legends S.Y.P.H. Here "Zurück zum Beton" is not interpreted as a grim punk anthem, but as an erotic celebration of a life in order, of Alltag and Künstlichkeit – familiarity and artificiality. A tender embrace of the art of sculpting concrete – the technique to shape public spheres. Over there "pure nature”. Over here "mankind”. In between the magic pragmatism of the Kollektief. On Désarroi, in a fashion perhaps even more pronounced than on previous works, the Kollektief is working with a delicate, tender sensibility (And particularly delicate and disorienting is the singing of Heike Aumüller, which has never been heard like this on record before). If tenderness becomes maximally tender, it is also a maximality of radical tenderness. And because of this, Désarroi is possibly the Kollektief’s most radical album to date.
~ Werner Ahrensfeld, CEO lä


Concrete or wood? The sensation of where, how and on which basis we locate a sense of belonging could not be evoked with more sensuality than is the case in Désarroi. In listening, we follow narratives of sounds, tones and melodies, we traverse them and they accompany us, guiding our perception of our surroundings: into an invisible space, which begins to manifest itself in an iridescent resonance. The album incorporates the investigation of the spatial via music more than previous recordings did. One might even ask: Is there a new term for the acoustic surrealism that Heike Aumüller, Johannes Frisch and Thomas Weber are presenting? Désarroi, literally confusion or despair, is their take on it. It encompasses the familiar, the foreign, the vastness of a meadow and the oppression of a confined space. Désarroi approximates a place without a name.
We fall into this nameless place through a mêlée of metallic and wooden sounds, rattling, whistling, knocking. The way that the interior of a string bass resounds suggests we might be inside some sort of hollow chamber, albeit one filled with the echo of life. The onset of a distorted harmonium rings out like a hint, a reassuring gesture. What is artistic makes us feel alive. "Désarroi #2: grundstürzend" continues this tentative orientation in space, opening up the previously internalised vibrancy with the secret creaking of a door. Behind that lies an area, which is urban, inhabited? Or is it a portal to a landscape, free and empty land? What structures do we expect? Which ones allow us to feel like the people we have grown into? The question of what lies ahead lingers. A brief pause: Introspection, reflection, darkly distorted. The scene flimmers. The quest for direction provides no signage. Something that is spread like a net promises new directions at each intersection.
Love could be one of them. With the fourth piece, "Evol Jam (Edit)", Aumüller sings "the more you love, the more you can love" until her syntax deteriorates and language dissolves, blurring into musical passages and sounds, and finally returning to her initial structure of singing. With her words she makes a case for a love which knows no order. The more you can, you can love, the more, you can more, love: Love breaks out, when it occurs, it takes up the space that we know and can live in only without borders. With it, we feel alive. Its sole border is distance. A wind comes up. "Désarroi #3: burned" appears as an answer to it, a fictive dialogue with "Evol Jam (Edit)"; here a male voice rings out, warped, as if coming from a distant loudspeaker. His words blur with sounds, merge with noises, dissolve, disappear. The voice may enable access, but this access to the situation slips out of reach during transit. The melody meanders along, like a drive in a car on a long stretch of asphalt between lone houses and open space, until dawn devours the course of the route with its darkness. Atmospheres connect to it, and are transferred to subsequent instrumental track. Strokes on an mbira fan out like allergenic dust, wide harmonium tones trace this expansion, the electric guitar speaks of vast expanses and the horizon. The songs on the album Désarroi describe a process of merging. They melt, become a flow, a storyline. The synthesis of improvisation, psychedelia & No Wave – all of which the music of the Kollektief is related to – eludes both melody and a concrete categorisation, repeatedly and especially at the end of Désarroi. The piece "Zurück zum Beton (Version)" – back to the concrete – which refers to the eponymous song by S.Y.P.H. (1980), is an exception. It explicitly focuses on questions of positioning. On Désarroi, this song is the last subway stop and the wall at the edge of town. It poses, and then answers, the question of concrete and wood, of the foundations of our existence. Of aspects and prospects that shape our views. Of culture, through which our actions produce the feeling that the nameless place does have a name. "...da gibt es Liebe und Glück" – …there is love and joy there – Heike Aumüller sings, while I sit and write on a stone terrace on the sixth floor of a building in a city. Machines for processing concrete roar, engines whirr, materials squeak and form a layer of distorted acoustic convolution under Désarroi. The mountain range on the horizon almost disappears behind the sprawl of buildings. Concrete remains at the fore.
~ Christina Irrgang, translation by Zoe Claire Miller

Initiative Musik gGmbH
Supported by Initiative Musik gGmbH with project funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media on the basis of a resolution passed by German Bundestag.


"Their instrumental drones and central european freakouts on violins and reeds are drenched in prickling static. A kind of European down home NoWave."

Matt fyttche, the Wire

"A very interesting kind of fuck music."

"Träumende Dissonanzen aus einem neuen Kapitel des europäsichen Jazz!"

Oliver Tepel, Spex

"Disloziert dichte Musik voller geheimer Zusammenhänge."


"Im Crossover zwischen großer Free Jazz-Tradition , Kraut- und Free Form-Rock und This Heat'scher Klangverwischung stimmen nicht nur die Bezugspunkte, sondern was viel wichtiger und zugleich so ungemein seltener ist: vor allem deren neuartige, begeisternde Zusammenfügung."

Martin Büsser, testcard

"There's a sense of self-cancelling motion, of action and reaction distilled into one form."

Colin Buttimer,

"There's a sense of self-cancelling motion, of action and reaction distilled into one form."

Colin Buttimer,

"Gazegrazing analogtronica and cracked chamber jazz."

Donn Allred, Village Voice

"Das Kammerflimmer Kollektief gewährt nach den Entwürfen jetzt einen Blick auf das komplette Bild, es ist eine Collage. Ein profunderes Album werden wir dieses Jahr kaum mehr zu hören bekommen. Zukunftsmusik, schon jetzt realisiert, aus Karlsruhe. Wer hätte das gedacht?"

Ulrich Kriest, Intro

"This lot have been one of Germany's most interesting musical exports of the last few years. Recommended."

Peter Marsh,

"It's celestial electronic jazz!"

Almost Cool

"Das Kammerflimmer Kollektief symbolisiert die erdabgewandte Seite von Karlsruhe, inszeniert Jazz als Analogie des freien Falls und der totalen Freiheit."

Frankfurter Rundschau

"It's like music Kafka might have written had he put down the pen and picked an I-Mac"

Dan Williams,

"In den besten Momenten lässt sich in ihrer Musik ein fernes Echo vernehmen. Ein Echo jener hoffnungsvollen Utopie und unbestimmten Ahnung von Freiheit und Gewaltlosigkeit, von friedlicher Koexistenz und gleichberechtigter Zusammenarbeit, von einem erfüllten, selbstbestimmten Leben, die der US-amerikanische Free Jazz der späten 60er Jahre angesichts der ersten Erfolge der Bürgerrechts- und Emanzipationsbewegung und der zunehmenden Sichtbarkeit und breiteren Wahrnehmung radikaler afroamerikanischer Musikkulturen in der Musik von Pharaoh Sanders, Alice Coltrane oder den entspannteren Momenten des Sun Ra Arkestra atmete. Eine vollkommen aggressionsfreie, verspielte Art, musikalische (und andere) Freiheit zu begreifen, zu leben – eine Utopie und eine Musik, die unvermeidlich und viel zu schnell den allzu realen politischen, gesellschaftlichen und ökonomischen Verhältnissen ihrer Produzenten und Hörer zum Opfer fielen. Dass eine derartige Utopie von einem in fast jeder lebensweltlichen Hinsicht gänzlich anders situierten Bandzusammenhang nicht einfach so in die heutige Zeit übersetzt werden kann, sondern vielleicht nur als dunkle Ahnung, als melancholischer Schatten, als Abwesenheit, eben als »Absence«, ist dem Kollektief hörbar schmerzlich bewusst. Die unmäßige Energie, die in dieser Musik steckt, bricht nicht aus, bleibt immer Ahnung und Andeutung. Die fehlende Explosion, diese unterschwellig bleibende Ekstase, ist zu milder Schwermut geronnen. Dennoch ist die Musik unmittelbar versöhnlich und zugänglich, niemals bitter oder bösartig. Selten war eine Musik so unverschämt reich, so überschäumend, so widerspenstig im Detail und gleichermaßen auch so dunkel, so sentimental, so gefühlig, so unmäßig sehnsüchtig."

Frank Eckert, Spex

" full exploratory mode, as they forge ahead inquisitively, leaving an ever-shifting, endlessly fascinating array of discarded sounds in their wake."

Matthew Murphy, Pitchforkmedia

"Kammerflimmer Kollektief's sound is enormous and mysterious, perfect for the dark or the veiled and shady corners of every city."

Lucas Schleicher, Brainwashed

"Musik, die hinter die Dinge, hinter die Abläufe schaut, die aufdeckt, aufblitzen, anklingen lässt, was der monströse Vordergrund verstellt."

Walter Meier, Bayrischer Rundfunk

"Das Kammerflimmer Kollektief schließt alte verlorene Räume des Free Jazz auf, erinnert an die dort immer schon vorhandenen melodischen Qualitäten, und das alles mit einem gekonnten Wechselspiel aus kurzen atmosphärischen Interludien und minutiös ausgearbeiteten Großkompositionen. Einer der horizonterweiterndsten jazzhaltigen deutschen Musikproduktionen der letzten Jahre."

Michael Engelbrecht, Klanghorizonte, Deutschlandfunk

"Dabei schafft es das Kollektief tatsächlich, elektronische Musik mit Jazz zu verbinden, und nicht das eine dem anderen über- oder unterzuornden. Was dabei entsteht ist Weite. Und diese Weite wiederum passt hervorragend in Zimmer, die zu eng sind! Dort entsteht sie sogar! Denn für die in der Wüste ist Weite langweilig!"

Jörg Sundermeier, Beam me up

"Kommunikation ist besser als ihr Habermas-Image. Macht mittlerweile sechs Folgeplatten, die sämtlich e-musikalisch grundiert sind, aber nicht so, daß man sich vorkäme wie auf der Musikhochschule. Eher wird die weggesprengt – dann, wenn man nicht mehr damit rechnet. Und plötzlich ist man frei."

Christoph Meueler, Junge Welt

"Ein stilles Implodieren und kreischendes Hauchen, ein nachhallender Aufschrei des Free Jazz belästigen den Wohnzimmerklang, ein Versuch die Schönheit zum Leuchten zu bringen, in dem sie zart zerstört wird! (...) Der Kosmos des Kammerflimmer Kollektiefs ist ein authentisches Spiel über das gesampelte Authentische. Sie sind eine akustische Band, die elektronisch klingt."

Konrad Heidkamp, Die Zeit

"Similarly, the German band Kammerflimmer Kollektief has been colliding genres, except it does so in short and precise compositions. It's quite graceful in its contradictions, somewhere between the warm hues of a Daniel Lanois soundscape and the gnatlike movements of European free jazz."

Ben Ratliff, New York Times

"Very emotional, almost sexual."

François Monti,

"An embrace of life in the midst of sorrow."

Ned Raggett, All Music Guide

"Songs full of strange shadows and shrieks. Sound rises up from nowhere and disappears, the melodies are unfinished and in minor keys. It's a strange fusion of smoky, Lynchian jazz, odd ambient music and eerie, disembodied voices. There's ringing bells, creaking floorboards, sobbing violins. It's like an eternal funeral - long sustained fits of sadness and hopelessness that has no bottom."

J. Edward Keyes, 17dots

"Epic soundscapes dotted with detailed intricacy."

Tom Ridge, The Wire

"Avancierte Meditationen aus Noise, Folk uns Sauerkrautmusik."

Frank Sawatzki, Musik Express

"Heavy, Alter!"

Matthias Penzel, Rolling Stone

"If anything, it is an encouraging work, a very modern piece of art that will surely, at the very least, remain buried within your unconsciousness, generating meanings that seem random, finding the cracks in contexts, highlighting what before seemed trivial as infinitely interesting and sacred."

David Murrieta,

"This is cerebral, subtle music. There are few obvious climaxes. The conglomerated style feels balanced, because everyone plays their role sensitively. No one ever flies off on their own trip; all play tactfully and with a sense of the overriding structure. The music is mannered, restrained, redolent of 70s exotica."

Brian Howe, Pitchfork

"Ein kühner Entwurf, weit draußen in der siebten Galaxie!"

Christoph Wagner, Schwarzwälder Bote

"Le Kollektief sounds like Napalm Death on a mixture of Mandrax & Gin. Get it while you can!"

Wolfgang von Forsbäck, Suck & Run

"Man spürt in jedem Moment, dass diese Menschen schon eine geraume Zeit zusammen Musik machen. Nicht nur fügen sich die einzelnen Elemente innerhalb eines Songs immer wieder erstaunlich perfekt ineinander, sondern auch über die Länge eines ganzen Albums spannt das Trio einen sehr beeindruckenden Bogen. Diese Spannung wird gerade durch den Wechsel zwischen komponierten und improvisierten Passagen aufrechterhalten, da man weder in der Eintönigkeit einer im Pop häufig geforderten 'Durchhörbarkeit' hängen bleibt, noch sich im selbstverliebten Muckertum verliert."