That is actually exactly what Sknail represents. Snail Charmers is a highly surprising album, bringing us a refreshing blend of jazz and glitch/IDM. So if you ever wondered what it would sound like when John Coltrane would meet Autechre, this Swiss project is your answer. Backed-up by musicians like Nya (vocals), Yannick Barman (trumpet), Philippe Ehinger (bass clarinet), Guy-Francois Leuenberger (piano), Alain Dessauges & Patrice Moret (double bass), Sknail (production, electronics, programming) created a highly technical piece of magic.
While the band and the producers create an intimate jazz club atmosphere, vocalist Nya raps, somewhere in the vein of some dub reggae artists like Linton Kwesi Johnson. This gives the album an extra edge and makes songs like 'Slow Poison' and title track 'Snail Charmers' true pearls. 'Anthem' takes things a bit slower, nugding towards the sheer gloomy beauty of dark jazz. There's a lot of room for elaborate solo's, freely floating on deep double bass and weird background electronics.
And there lies the true genius of this album. This is not an IDM album with some jazz poured into. No, this is high quality jazz music, supported by electronics. Sknail respects the artists and the genre in such a way that he gives them the freedom to exercise their skills to the fullest. In fact, I like this more than I like most jazz. Most jazz drummers make me nervous. This doesn't, this is warm, enjoyable music, even in its experimental character.
'Lacrima' is my favourite track on the album, mainly because of the earlier mentioned dark jazz feel and also because of the minimal but rhytmic glitch-electronics it drives on. Somehow, Sknail manages to avoid musical chaos and barely avoids crossing the edge between music and noise. Still, the album has something weird, not suitable for people who like their music easy to digest. It takes some experience to be able to enjoy this but it's definitely worth checking out.
In all, Snail Charmers is a brilliant jazz album, foreseeing a bright future for this unique genre. It's a perfect marriage between jazz and electronics, that's for sure. It's clearly not easy-listening music but Sknail deserves a lot of credit and attention for this daring mix.