Alien Ensemble – Alien Ensemble 2 (Alien Transistor)
Beautiful combination of smooth jazz, krautrock and brass band shapes from Micha Acher (The Notwist) and friends.
Within the first two tracks we already have a cool jazz jam, a bowed double bass meditation, a gorgeous vibraphone exercise (all on album opener ‘Arc Trilogy’) and a sprightly/bittersweet brass band workout (‘Morgenstimmung’).
The heart and soul of the album for me is the run beginning from the fourth track ‘Sun’, an exquisite accordion, flute and vibes concoction that drifts and lopes all woozy and heat drunk.
Next the sublimely morose brass of ‘Lenity’ is a perfect palate cleanser, like a Tom Waits tune in a sharper suit but just as pleasingly dishevelled underneath.
The run is crowned by the glorious motorik beackbeat of 'Skeleton dance' with the white line held by a single banjo chord while an irresistible flute and trumpet melody flirts with the verges.
The album still has great things in store – the insistent brass, flute and vibes interplay over a muted hip hop beat of ‘Gedanken’ and the lovely meandering atmosphere of ‘Loop D’ – but this three tune run is king.
Adventurous, soothing, unsettling, this album is all these things.
It really is a wonderful piece of work.