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Hommage An Klaus Kinski by Nobu Stowe - Lee Pembleton Project

The late German actor Klaus Kinski was purportedly a perfectionist and a hot-head. This release finds keyboardist Nobu Stowe and longtime collaborator, sound designer Lee Pembleton engaging in a harmoniously shaded, avant-garde tribute to the great German thespian. Along with woodwind artists and others chipping in, Stowe shapes the layered tonal palate with adherence to melody-making and the freer scheme of matters.

Kinski’s eccentric demeanor is perhaps signified via the power of genre-busting music here. Stowe’s subtly climactic phrasings are encircled by Pembleton’s sweeping, dark-ambient electronics maneuvers within various segments. However, the slowly ascending choruses and alterations in pitch, intimate an involved storyline. The musicians enter and exit at various intervals, where clarinetist Perry Robinson and tenor saxophonist Blaise Siwula often exude moments of angst and humor with plaintive cries and playful meltdowns.

In effect, the artists spawn surrealist tendencies, partly due to the subliminal EFX treatments and asymmetrical rhythmic proclivities. On "Trio III-B," Pembleton generates a liquefying synth backwash as a foundation for Stowe’s hybrid, avant-mainstream piano mosaics. And as the set progresses, the ensemble engages in diminutive voicings and cyclical patterns, often tinted with howling woodwinds and trance-like theme building exercises. No doubt, it’s a curiously interesting musical statement that is difficult to pigeonhole.

Music that defies rigid categorizations generally infers that something exciting and highly-artistic is occurring, which is the case here. My only beef would be that the overall scope of this set could have been sliced down by 5-10 minutes or so, as the continual storyline can sometimes appear to be superfluous in spots. Again, this notion does not detract from the magical and uncannily visual component of the total package. Here, Kinski’s complex persona is depicted with a mood-evoking jamboree that offers quite a few thought-provoking persuasions.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Nobu Stowe - Lee Pembleton Project
  • CD Title: Hommage An Klaus Kinski
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Soul Note
  • Musicians: Nobu Stowe (piano), Lee Pembleton (sound design), Perry Robinson (clarinet, micro-ocarine), Blaise Siwula (tenor saxophone, alto clarinet), John McLellan (drums), Ross Bonadonna (bass clarinet, alto saxophone, guitar)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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