is a new Berlin-based quartet comprised of actor- vocalist Jelena Kuljic
and three acclaimed and experienced improvisers guitarist Frank Möbus
, leader of the band Der Rote Bereich and frequent collaborator with Portuguese double player Carlos Bica, American drummer Jim Black
, Finnish guitarist Kalle Kalima
and drummer Christian Lillinger
, leader of the GRUND
group and member of Hyperactive Kid
Together the four aim to shake upside down the vibrant Berlin scene with a raw, thorny mixture of punk attitude, electro- dance elements, eccentric fusion, and free jazz outbursts. Or as the quartet articulates it, anything oscillating between the two Ninas: the sensual Nina Simone
, and the punk-operatic Nina Hagen.
As a quartet coming from one of the most cosmopolitan and multicultural cities on earth, the lyrics are sung in German, English, and Serbian, the mother tongue of Kuljic. KUU! The title of their debut album perfectly represents the free spirit of this unconventional band, means Sex for Food in German, replacing the working title, "the song book for the nihilists."
The ten songs on the vinyl LP feature the charismatic, theatrical, and always playful delivery of Kuljic, but leave enough room for the male musicians to embrace her excited, sensual vocals with noisy rough edges. All of the tracks sound like songs ready for imaginary, future films of Jim Jarmusch, arranged precisely, still alternating between impressive command and reckless abandon.
Most of the songs as "Against Winter," "Dreamfood" and the Serbian one, "Dobroe jutro," highlight Kuljic cabaret-like, dramatic and emotional-charged delivery of these haunting ballads, wrapped cleverly by the inventive interplay between Möbus' and Kallima's guitars and the flexible pulse of Lillinger. But KUU! sounds more natural when all four enjoy the option to get wilder as on the catchy, upbeat "Stasias Bände," focusing on exploring the "metaphysics of sex," or the open-ended improvisations of "Talking to Little Birdies" and the aptly-titled "Dada."
KUU!'s debut delivers an engaging, wild ride.
Personnel: Jelena Kuljic: vocals; Frank Möbus: guitar; Kalle Kalima: guitar;
Christian Lillinger: drums.