Kalle Kalima and K-18 – Out to Lynch

Out To Lynch

Kalle Kalima plays electric guitar and percussion in a number of contexts, including sessions for artists as diverse as Linda Sharrock and Jimmy Tenor. His quartet, K-18, comprises Mikko Innanen (alto and baritone saxophones, flutes and percussion), Veli Kujala (quarter-tone accordion and percussion), and Teppo Hauta-aho (double bass, percussion, and doors: yes; doors).

The first K-18 album, Some Kubricks of Blood (TUM) featured original compositions inspired by the films of Stanley Kubrick. Out to Lynch continues the cinematic theme with a new collection of pieces inspired by the warped psychocinamatics of David Lynch: Eraserhead, Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive.

Two pieces—”The Elephant Man” and “Sailor”— are collectively credited; the remaining compositions are all Kalima’s, and these are complex, compressed, stand-alone pieces rather than fleeting, scene-focused ‘incidentals’. Each has its distinct mood, but those moods are nuanced and varied, combining elements from free jazz, modern classical music and avant-garde rock.

“Eraserhead” starts out with a head melody reminiscent of the early 90s Bill Frisell Band, then snakes through tight angularities to an alt.-Klezmer duet for clarinet and guitar as kalimba, before returning to that catchy, propulsive melody. Kalima also sounds a bit like Frisell (mostly, he doesn’t; he has more in common, perhaps, with Nels Cline) on the subtly-hughed “Alvin Straight”. In between those tracks sit the relatively formless cloud dynamics of “Lula Pace Fortune”, with Kalima’s stormburst electricity at its heart.

As the album’s punning title suggests, Eric Dolphy’s Out To Lunch group is the closest model for Kalima and K-18’s textures and strategies, though Kalima’s compositions, being overtly cinematic, are less rhythm based.

The absence of drums is a defining characteristic of the group, whose sound is shaped by the nuanced harmonics of accordion twinned with amplified guitar, and shaded by reeds. The double bass is effective enough, where necessary, to shade or imbue their lithe interactions with rhythm. Percussion is played sparingly, primarily to modulate tension/release (as on “Laura Palmer”).

Where Kalima succeeds most is in capturing in sound something of David Lynch’s psychotomimetic cinema: witness the weird, vortical freneticism of K-18’s “Mulholland Drive”.

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