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Kira Vollman — Outzeit the Geist
(Bandcamp Zauber Klang ZK103, 2022, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-05-13

Outzeit the Geist Cover art

Some may be familiar with Kira Vollman from her collaborative work with Joe Berardi in the Los Angeles based avant-garde art-rock duo Non Credo; both are composers and multi-instrumentalists, and have been active since the late 80s, releasing three albums between 1988 and 2006 as well as single tracks on numerous various-artist compilations on a number of different labels. Vollman has also been involved with many other ensembles and groups over the years, as well as creating music for films and dance, working with a wide range of musicians along the way. All that said, Outzeit the Geist is Vollman’s first release under her own name, and as such she composed everything, wrote and sang all the lyrics, and played all the instruments (save drums on two of the cuts), which include bass guitar, guitars, clarinets, keyboards, percussion, and everything else one hears on the album’s thirteen cuts. She spent the duration of the pandemic holed up in her home studio writing and arranging all of the parts. With an amazing multi-octave, highly expressive voice, she has no trouble singing the parts of the characters in her lyrics, which tend to be first-person observations, like a portrait gallery of persons known or unknown, but they are thoughtful and effective — a listener can almost visualize the characters as they are introduced and developed. But the instrumental ideas these vignettes are set to is also quite amazing (including one purely instrumental cut), definitely informed by her background in Non Credo but also her work in improvisation. Of course the chosen sounds are unusual and somewhat angular, exactly what one would expect. Standouts inclede “Nascent Complacency,” the brief and purely vocal “Hae Na Moose” that leads into “I Am the Queen,” as well as “Don’t Forget the Doilies” and the expressive European sounding “Nightmares on Toast.” The packaging is worthy of note also, a DVD sized card package with a beautifully illustrated booklet with a page dedicated to the lyrics of each song, and a drawing for each, from Vollman’s “anxiety doodles” — indeed she is a gifted visual artst as well. All of these creative elements come together on Outzeit the Geist, a most unusual album that exists well outside the mainstream of any genre, but remains quite listenable and enjoyable on many levels.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Kira Vollman

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