Kuhn Fu — Chain the Snake
(Bandcamp no#, 2019, CD / LP / DL)
by Peter Thelen, 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 Henry Schneider, 2019-06-06:
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!
Related artist(s): Kuhn Fu
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more