Kammerflimmer Kollektief

Absencen

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The dread label post-rock seems to have finally died, but as with all genres, however spuriously named, it's less what one is described as (or would have been) that what one does with the music created. On their fifth album, the members of Kammerflimmer Kollektief sound downright fresh in a rock zeitgeist reset by the Strokes and all that came after -- if anything the role model is often the quieter side of Mogwai circa Rock Action, a blend of the modern epic and a hint of the Old West, but with less specific emphasis on rigorous arrangements and more near-random intrusions and brief jazz-inspired solos from a variety of performers. Their try-anything-once all-at-the-same-time approach doesn't always connect, or at least will mean that some listeners will like and hate a track almost equally -- consider how opening number "Lichterlol" centers around a beautiful, meditative synth/steel guitar led mode but then introduces free jazz skronk brass halfway through. Credit for trying, though, and among various recent bands that look upon the musical world and take what they want from it, the Kollektief are better than many; on songs like "Shibboleth" and the concluding "Die Vogel Sangen" they create fine music worthy of a high-profile film score. Their strongest moments overall find a mood and extend it -- thus, "Nachtwache, 15. September" is accentuated by the buried, echoed computer-beep sounds acting as a rhythm in the mix. The best song all around would have to be "Unstet (Fuer Jeffrey Lee Pierce)," referring to the legendary (and alas, late) bandleader behind the Gun Club. The fascination with a high-and-lonesome, burned country & western sound reaches its apogee here, slow fiddle and soft drumming set aside distant, echoed guitar drones, at once a celebration and a requiem. Even the return of bursts of sax noise seems appropriate, an embrace of life in the midst of sorrow.

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