Review by Charles Spano
Cicadidae is the natural outcome of Kammerflimmer Kollektief's evolution from a hybrid jazz electronic outfit to experimental improvisers and finds the band actually playing as a band with brass and string instruments, electronics, drums, and keyboards. It makes Kammerflimmer a sort of Black Dice for downtempo ambient music -- while their lush, tweaked sounds (and decidedly warm tones) are similar to both Four Tet and Manitoba, the songs on Cicadidae have a much looser rock feeling. Take "Neumond Inselhin," which starts the album off with a gentle ticking, gurgling, and chiming that turns to a genuine string melody and then a subtly buzzing cacophony. The song doesn't so much evolve from one phase to the other as it just sort of dances back and forth, like insects in the moonlight on a summer night (hence the cicadas). There's a remarkable range to the music that conjures Kammerflimmer's dreamy surrealism -- from the Múm-esque chimes of "Blood" to the clearly Western-inspired (and somewhat caustic) "...Denn Nacht Ist Jetzt Schon Bald!" (Ennio Morricone meets Steve Reich?). It's this openness and spontaneity that makes Kammerflimmer Kollektief's music so thrilling -- after all, the very next track is a Björk-ian dark pop song, followed by a spare, techno jazz groove on "Mantra." Kammerflimmer's ideas are so original that they may seem far-flung to those uninitiated with experimental music, but their delivery is so inviting and hypnotic that it makes Cicadidae unusually accessible.