The debut release from Berlin act Taumel is a dreamy, sprawling half-hour exploration into ambience and minimalism that allows the listener to sink into its soothing sense of dread. With a quartet comprised of a pianist/Rhodes keyboardist, a guitarist, drummer and Flugelhorn player, the lineup in itself suggests the experimental approach to the music at hand before the listener hears the first note.
Labelling their sound as ‘Darkjazz’ or ‘Doomjazz’, this release is, although soft, brimming with dissonances, unsettling atmospherics and drones. As the inaugural episode of a larger musical cycle titled ‘Traum’ (dream), which is promised to form a coherent idea upon its conclusion, There Is No Time To Run Away From Here is to be the first of many.
Starting with soft chords on the synthesiser, opener ‘There Is’ sees the drums play a sparse, minimalistic rhythmic pattern with a somewhat industrial quality to them. The track gently plods forward, although noisy tension is built up in the closing seconds with an industrial, electronic wailing. It is hard to pinpoint a single motif or recurrence that ties the song together, but it certainly has the sensation of an introductory track and suggests that which is to come.
The subsequent ‘No Time’ has a slightly brighter production style and the drum patterns have a more coherent and distinguishable rhythm, although its bereft, mournful repeating chord sequence retains the dark atmosphere of the previous song. Taumel make use of noise once more with both the guitars and drums, crescendoing over the song’s mid-section, to subtly yet noticeably add tension until this layer suddenly cuts out and a sense of calmness is restored.
The eight-and-a-half minute ‘To Run’ is much more dissonant and creepy than ‘No Time’ before it, which feels very much melodic in comparison. Instead, this third track could soundtrack a horror film. Although several instruments play melody lines, the Flugelhorn particularly shines here, providing a coldness to the passages that evokes the sombre emotion of what could be a funeral setting.
Its instrumental inclusion is testament to Taumel’s daring commitment to experimentalism and uniqueness, although not for its own sake. The Flugelhorn very much feels at home alongside the more contemporary and common instruments, and plays its part in the dark ambience. Despite its long runtime, ‘No Time’ does not outstay its welcome due to Taumel’s ability to draw the listener into their dark, jazzy soundscape. Truly this release’s centrepiece.
The droning, dissonant and tritone-heavy ‘Away’ makes clever use of minor chords and the diminished scale early on to set the scene for what is another lengthy runtime – although again, this does not feel ‘too long’. A beautiful horn solo midway through is a personal highlight for me for the release as a whole, for the way that it finds melody and lightness to float above the morose chords.
Final track ‘From Here’ lies in direct contrast to ‘Away’ in this regard, as its mellower harmonies borrow from the chord sequences in more traditional jazz. The sorrow that binds the release together as one is very much still present, but ‘Away’ holds a sense of hope to it that eludes the preceding four tracks in an appropriate way for a closing number.
By no means is this a release where everything drags into one. All five tracks have their own character and quality, although this is to be considered as five different shades of darkness and gloom. Structured meticulously, one has the sensation of being gently pulled into the depths of the void before slowly released back to reality when listening to this as a whole – which you certainly should do.
‘There Is No Time To Run Away From Here’ seems unassuming on the surface, but is no easy listening, evoking powerful emotions throughout its thirty minute runtime. A challenging yet rewarding listen, where one finds further hidden details with each replay, Taumel have certainly set a high standard early on and I, for one, await the next part of ‘Traum’ with bated breath.
Worth a listen for fans of anything jazzy, experimental, ambient and dark.
Buy it on Bandcamp here.