After ten years of working and playing in a stylistically diverse range of bands and collectives as a drummer, co-leader, composer, bassist, sound engineer and mixer on the one hand and to be able to collaborate and hang out with so many beautiful and inspiring people on the other - time has arrived to present my own blend of music.
It has always been my dream since school days, when I first wrote songs with my friends and recorded them with one single stereo mic in my cellar room, to one day make my own experimental record as a musician, composer and mixer and I’m very happy about the result.
You will hear some of my dearest friends and finest protagonists from Cologne’s contemporary jazz and improvised music scene bringing this music to life. You will experience five personalities that merge their individual expression into one collective mind with the listener.
The compositions feature the most of what I love in music, wether it’s raw positive energy as in Andersrum or some fragile and fondly detailed landscapes in Losing Color to a joyous swingy feel like in Stones or Who Rules?
Thomas Sauerborn has built a reputation in the German music scene as a competent sideman, but more than that, as an important creative contributor to the ensembles in which he plays. Finally we have the chance to hear him as a bandleader, with ‘KYIWI’. Thomas presents compositional concepts grounded in simplicity; his pieces often comprising of several small ideas which are carefully layered upon one another, or spliced together, like a jigsaw puzzle... or maybe an abstract painting. Still, there is plenty of room left for the personalities of the band members to shine through and also for a lot of meaningful interaction.
‘Losing Color’ does exactly the opposite of what the title suggests, relishing in the use of a wide range of sounds, from David Helm’s indie-dream electric bass and Sauerborn’s subtle cymbal effects, to Sebastian Gille’s tenor singing us to shipwreck.
On ‘Who Rules’, Bastian Stein’s determined yet beautifully flowing trumpet remains unmoved by the interruption of an energetic repetitive figure from the rhythm section.
On some tracks, such as ‘ALSG<D’, the combination of the Gille and Stein frontline juxtaposed against the meditative style of the rhythm section reminds one somewhat of the band ‘Old and New Dreams’. But if it’s one thing KYIWI is intent on achieving, it’s using their wide range of influences to create something fresh, symbiotic and alive. On Lichterloh, for example, electronic effects take over the trumpet, eventually controlling it, like robots rebelling against their makers. Lucas Leidinger’s restraint is on show on ‘Liquid’ and ‘Vollfreude’, judiciously adding his ideas to the textures with an incredibly light touch.
KYIWI is an impressive release from an interesting combination of humans and I hope you will enjoy listening to it as much as I have.
Shannon Barnett, February 2021