Formed in November 2014, KoMaRa consist of drummer and percussionist Pat Mastelotto, who should need no introduction, Slovakian guitarist David Kollar, and trumpeter Paolo Raineri.
Paolo Raineri is a well known figure in progressive jazz, and has also leant his skills to all manner of projects in many different styles. Inspired by Scandinavian nu-jazz, this man is akin to a Terje Rydal of the trumpet.
David Kollar has a long list of albums and collaborations with many left-field artists to his name, including much respected Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset. He has also scored no less than 18 films. Pat describes his style as “An interesting combination of Eastern European classical influences, jazz, ambient, techno, IDM, trippy heavy blues rock mixed with eastern folk styles, played on a homemade guitar through a quirky combination of pedals and effects…I know critics often like to put music into categories but with David’s music that’s very difficult to do.” OK Pat, but if comparisons must be made, and they can be helpful to the uninitiated, the closest I can come up with is another David who blazes his own trail, David Torn.
Which neatly leads to another point of reference; KoMaRa with their heavy vibe could be a twisted psycho version of Bruford Levin Upper Extremities as the bar band in a nightmare of gut churning proportions. As the Bandcamp page has it, this album is the mostly instrumental soundtrack to a “dark, deviant and explicit detective story” about “abduction and the ultimate demise of the abductee”. This music lurches from the terrifying to the eerie, never once lessening its grip on the horrified but transfixed listener. The terror starts with the sleeve art, designed by Adam Jones of Tool, featuring a devilish urchin gargoyle in bloody hues. “The Creature” as it is known speaks too, as the final track and a video clip on the band’s Facebook page will show.
Veering between aural operation without anaesthetic to science fiction languid blue jazz, this album lives within a feral vortex of sound. The utterly monstrous fuzzed out nastiness of opening track Dirty Smelly is embellished by David’s alien new wave guitar and Paolo’s treated trumpet, creating a place where one half expects Pere Ubu’s David Thomas to start screaming about how he needs a drink because life stinks. After that initial statement of intent, we are treated to a trip through a sociopath’s calmer moments on Forms as Pat’s trademark modern percussion skitters underneath Paolo’s aching trumpet lament, barely keeping a lid on something lurking just beneath the surface. The beast awakens after Pat’s tribal drum interlude and begins some indecipherable muttering in the right channel as David’s guitar screams in response to Paolo’s trumpet over a cyclical riff, the track reflecting a psyche in turmoil.
The guitar beast growls and struts its way through the primordial swamp of A Collision Of Finger Prings, the visceral noise abating during the strangely becalmed first half of She Sat In Black Silt led by Paolo’s keening trumpet, calling across the stillest lake imaginable. The pace picks up with Pat’s simple rhythm and David’s slowly waking guitar, as the trumpet continues its mournful wail, the three musicians creating an expansive soundscape that takes the listener on an otherworldly trip. Strange things stir and clatter through 2CFAC as the trumpet keeps a lonely watch.
This killer has awoken and his boots are on, the trip through dark lands continues. “…uhh hatred swells up, vengeance chokes my breath. Am I breathing? Can’t hear the car. Can’t hear the road. I feel like I’m moving. I’m sure I’m moving… God must have left this place”. There follows the creepiest film noir road movie soundtrack, Eraserhead on the road, screams, mutterings…a female voice…“have to get out…oohhhh”.
Some kind of relief is granted on the crawling and sinister Pasquinade, another avant jazz blues where the trumpet uses the melody to rein in the fierce and insistent guitar, which angrily saws away as if struggling to break free of bonds that are…oh…so tight. Afterbirth hints at something aside from the main story and continues the dislocated apartness of this odd yet enthralling music, reprising the ferocity of the opening number. After a minute of silence we end with the return of The Creature narrating Inciting Incidents, in a heavily treated voice that renders it hard to decipher. I will just have to wait for the CD where hopefully, all will be explained.
Although not a ProjeKct as such as this is not King Crimson music, KoMaRa would fit just right into the Crimson family of releases. It is a fabulous snarling beast of a record that scores well on my long suffering better half’s “racket-o-meter” so it must be doing something right!
Out on 30th June, you can pre-order via the link on Bandcamp.
[You can learn more about KoMaRa in our short Q&A with David Kollar which you can read HERE]
01. Dirty Smelly (4:11)
02. 37 Forms (8:11)
03. A Collision Of Finger Prings (5:03)
04. She Sat In Black Silt (5:13)
05. 2CFAC (3:33)
06. God Has Left This Place (5:35)
07. Pasquinade (6:11)
08. Abraso (0:17)
09. Afterbirth (6:45)
10. Inciting Incidents (1:17)
Total time – 46:16
David Kollar – Guitars, Bass, Electronic Textures
Pat Mastelotto – Acoustic and Electric Drums and Percussion
Paolo Raineri – Trumpet, Vocals, and Audio Managing
Record Label: Hevhetia
Year Of Release: 2015