The Thing With Five Eyes is a brand new project by Jason Köhnen, known for a multitude of bands and project, including Bong-Ra, Celestial Season, The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation. Recently, he also released some other exciting albums on Svartlava from Rotterdam. These will be featured on the next edition of Brieviews. Now, let's focus on this fascinating musical experience that 'Noirabesque' has become.
On this record Köhnen is accompanied by Algerian / French singer Leila Bounous. She adds Arabic timbres to the music, which somehow brings a select number of Dead Can Dance songs to mind. Besides these element, you can find a wide array of musical influences, from ambient over (dark) jazz to krautrock and downtempo electronics. But even with those influences, there is a beautiful conceptual feel throughout the entire thing.
Another helpful hand (or set of lungs in this case) is proved by Izzy Op De Beeck (Detour Doom Project) who plays the trumpet. His efforts are rewarded in the brilliant track 'Taurus', which is probably my absolute favorite on the album. Yet, rest assured, there is not a dull moment to be found on 'Noirabesque'. It's an album with nine highlights, as each song is another awe-inspiring piece of work with 'Salem' being a perfect and genre defining opener.
In the end, I think the "dark jazz" tag is definitely earned here, especially in the way that The Thing With Five Eyes can stand next to Dale Cooper Quartet and the Dictaphones, Radare, Macelleria Mobile Di Mezzanotte and Somnambulist Quintet. Yet, just as easy this album delves into that scene, it redefines it with heaps of new influences. I have been following this scene since day one and I'm extremely happy that acts like these pop-up.
Recommended? Almost as much as breathing...