From the opening flurry of discordant semitones, the following percussive entrance of saxophone and then guitar, it becomes clear that there is something rather weird and threatening about Some Kubricks of Blood
. Much is surely due to the disharmonies and clashes of timbregrating guitar over accordion gushesand the abrupt rhythmic collisions, in addition to intentional off-mike squawks and burrs. And then, of course, there is the avowed subject matter: those images and injuries drawn from deep in director Stanley Kubrick's psyche, or at least those he managed to portray on film.
Finnish guitarist Kalle Kalima has produced some disturbing aural vistas On "Room 237," grindingly slow tempos evolve in jolts and lurches with little apparent development or resolution, unless the scenes from the film1980's The Shiningspring to mind. Kalima doesn't so much provide an alternative soundtrack to the films as he does an evocation of some of its images and locations. Kalima's quartet, K-18, is at the top of its experimental tree, with the leader affording its members plenty of room to stretch their creative skills through his compositions.
K-18's members have all worked extensively with Kalima over the years, with saxophonist Mikko Innanen
also sharing in friendship and rivalry since childhood. Kalima's scores may be highly precise for the most part, but scattered improvisational pockets draw on the clear strength of Finland's homogeneous jazz fraternity, despite Kalima now being based in Berlin.
The balance between Innanen's rhythmic but atonal playing and bassist Teppo Hauta-aho's polyrhythmic improvisation is tense but pleasing. Veli Kujala plays an accordion equipped to play quarter tones that have previously been unavailable to the instrument, and is the first voice heard on the disc. Kalima wrote the music with the accordion's microtonal features specifically in mind, and Kujala fulfills his role admirably, with his reedy tonality adding a share of contrastnative and occidental. Around these traits, Kalima similarly uses his guitar to shock and confront, much like fellow Finnish guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheim
, a past teacher and mentor to both Kalima and Kuijala. But Kalima's method is more sparse and subtle, and his tone less strident, making his compositions more intriguingdisturbing, even.
Whatever parallels can be drawn with Kubrick's filmsand Juhana Blomstedt's cover, with a painted Moebius loop, surely intimates a coiled spool of 35mm filmit is hard to distance this music from associations evoked by Kubrick on the psyche. Yet by granting time to these four investigators of the paranormal under Kalima's direction, K-18 proffers an open invitation to a roller coaster ride into Kubrick's darker traits. And all is not unforgiving or dark. The 46-second burst of musical errata attributed to "HAL 9000,"from 1968's 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the off-mic tweaks and scratches in the middle of "Overlook Hotel" (The Shining's location) and the bubbling theme that concludes it, are reminders that, for the open-minded, there is humor in horror.
Personnel: Kalle Kalima: electric and acoustic guitars; Mikko Innanen: alto, soprano and baritone saxophones; Veli Kujala: quarter-tone accordion;
Teppo Hauta-aho: double-bass.