Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Kuhn Fu — Chain the Snake
(Bandcamp no#, 2019, CD / LP / DL)
What do you do when you try to surpass your previous success? Try something different. And that is exactly what Kuhn Fu has done on their new album, Chain the Snake. The same elements are there, but arranged in new and fascinating patterns. There no romantic interludes this time around. Instead there is the controlled chaotic sounds of aggressive complex compositions taking bits of King Crimson, klezmer, and Alamaailman Vasarat and swirling them all together for something outside the norm. The track titles are intriguing as well: “Marco Messy Millionaire” who must be the guy on the cover art, “Gargamel” the Smurf’s nemesis, “Sonic Manah,” “Oswaldo’s Waltz,” “Gustav Grinch,” “Traktus,” and “Wolf’s Muckenkogel.” Their energy and craziness runs throughout all seven tracks be it Christian's insane ranting or paranoid guitar riffing, Ziv’s bass clarinet squealing, George Hadow’s martial drumming, or Esat’s inventive bass lines. Jarring moments alternate with quiet interludes, all dancing around the theme of a conman and villain. The few minutes of tranquility in this raucous sea is “Oswaldo’s Waltz,” a piece about a weird guy from South America who dances very slowly, lending an air of film noir. The closing track, “Wolf’s Muckenkogel,” is a bit of fun. Christian calls it a carnival polka to be sung by 80,000 people, but Kuhn Fu usually plays in front of 40 pensioners in South Germany. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, invest a few mintues and give Chain the Snake a spin!
by Henry Schneider, Published 2019-06-06
Surely what Kuhn Fu accomplished on their last album Kuhnspiracy couldn’t be topped, so this time out they seem to have wandered down a slightly different path, bringing forth their instrumental (save a shout or a chant here and there) jazz-rock-funk madness delivered with a manic punk urgency, like some out of control locomotive running down a hill that’s always just about to jump the track, although they do slow down at times and savor the finer moments. The band’s driving force is German guitarist Christian Achim Kühn, who is also responsible for all seven compositions, which can jump from panic to peace and back with hardly any warning. The rest of the quartet includes Turkish double-bassist Esat Ekincioglu, British drummer George Hadow and rounding out the sound, from Israel, comes Ziv Taubenfeld on bass clarinet. The wild and sometimes jarring juxtapositions of hard-edged angular math-jazz moves of radical abandon with softer and gentler melodic moments custom made for the bass clarinet make for a fairly wild ride, something that might sound right at home on the Cuneiform label. Even a bit of east-euro mutant klezmer folk creeps into some of the pieces like the closer “Wolf’s Muckenkogel,” offering interesting diversions from their standard form. Throughout, the compositions are exact and precise, though delivered in a way that seemingly gives each instrument plenty of expressive room, contributing to an overall sense of chaos and pandemonium. “Oswaldo’s Waltz” is one where they slow down a bit, with the bottom end paving a dreamy path for an eloquent ongoing conversation between guitar and bass clarinet, and probably the only number here without a jarring dynamic surprise somewhere along the way. One might also be reminded of the Czech powerhose Už Jsme Doma, or any of the RIO bands that operate along the jazz-punk axis. Any way one hears it, Chain the Snake is an excellent step forward for this innovative band.
by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-06-06
Related artist(s): Kuhn Fu
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