Akku Quintet - 2023 - Kinema
(38:02; Morpheus Records)
1. Zephyr 13:27
2. Kinema 8:14
3. Ink Part 13:53
4. Morph 2:28
Manuel Pasquinelli - drums
Maja Nydegger - keyboards
Michael Gilsenan - saxophones, effects
Markus Ischer - guitars
Andi Schnellmann - bass
Swiss band Akku Quintet is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Manuel Pasquinelli, and from the formation of the band in 2010 and onward the band has been an active presence in the live circuit as well as delivering new studio material at a regular and steady pace. This fall the band released their fifth studio album "Kinema" on the Morpheus Records label.
Akku Quintet is a band that explore two different but related types of music, with audiences shared between those universes. Where one of the traditions explored is jazz and the other is progressive rock. With the specific orientation here being one that most would classify as some variety of jazzrock.
On this all instrumental album the band has more of a minimalist approach to the style, and one that is explored in a bit more of a contemporary manner. The compositions will typically revolve around one fixed or stable element, sometimes a steady or vibrant bass motif, or a nervous electric piano presence, that carry the song through an initial phase. We get some sort of secondary instrument motif added during the first phase that takes us through an intermediate section, with either a new set instrument motif carrying the concluding phase of the song or a variation of the first returning to pick up that role again.
The instruments that play upon this fixed instrument and rhythm base, which typically will be the guitar, keyboards and saxophone in different variations, will more often than not have more of a textured display on this album. While not quite at the post rock level of textured instrument performances there is a bit of a Crimsonian touch to the proceedings here, or a Frippian touch if you like. While the opening two songs revolve a bit more around a jazzrock style and orientation, with a bit more of a subtle atmospheric laden presence maintaining tension there in general and with an effective groove element in play on the opening cut 'Zephyr', on the third cut 'Ink' we are provided with more expressive landscapes of the kind that I suspect many fans of King Crimson will find familiar sounding. Especially those who are fond of the more expressive sides of that band.
To conclude the album we get a short and concise piece that hone in on more expressive features, with vibrant element details instigating the song and an expressive display used to conclude it. A short and sweet and appropriately edgy creation that marks the end point of the journey.
Akku Quintet is a band that explore landscapes with a dual orientation, with elements from jazz and progressive rock having a just about equal and balanced role in the landscapes explored. On this album they combine a minimalist attitude with an expressive orientation to create compelling landscapes by way of fixed elements and textured instrument variations, in a manner that should appeal to fans of King Crimson just as much as those with an interest in a more alternative variation of minimalist but expressive jazzrock.
Olav "Progmessor" Björnsen, September 2023