Achim Kirchmair Trio feat. David Jarh:
„Sunkeeper“ (o-Tone Music, März 2020)
The Tyrolean guitarist Achim Kirchmair, his band and their new album "Sunkeeper" (O-Tone Music) prove in a really impressive way that modern jazz does not necessarily have to include difficult and complex sounds, but that it can be more than just exciting in its more accessible form.
Achim Kirchmair is known to be a sort of "cross-over" guitarist whose style cannot easily be placed into any single category. If you look at his previous work over various projects (including Dee Dolen, frida), it immediately becomes clear that you are dealing with a musician who seems to feel at home in a wide variety of genres, which is also particularly evident in his stylistically greatly multifaceted 2018 album "Going to Ladakh". So the question arises as to which mode is the Tyrolean musician, who can count Austrian jazz legend Harry Pepl among his teachers, aiming at for "Sunkeeper" – does he continue the path of stylistic diversity or pursue a different direction from before?
Well, basically both are happening. Achim Kirchmair, together with his band, brings the jazzy aspect of his music to the fore, even more than on the previous album. Not to the extent that influences from other genres no longer matter at all, but noticeable nonetheless. Of course, elements from fusion, blues and rock can still be found in all nine pieces, but just in a more low-dose form. So the album doesn't really have anything to do with a complete shift towards the classic variety of jazz.
A jazz sound that barely touches the ground
Achim Kirchmair and his colleagues Ali Angerer (tuba), Andjelko Stupar (drums) as well as his guest on this album, the Slovenian trumpeter David Jarh, manage to set their own musical accents on "Sunkeeper" in an extremely elegant fashion. What immediately catches your ear is this wonderfully light-footed, playful, emotionally warm and, at the same time, very genuine tone, which carries the sound of the music through the tracks. It almost seems as if the four gentlemen are, more than anything else, floating through their pieces than actually playing through them with their feet on the ground.
The Tyrolean and his band understand very well how to render their more complex way of playing into something flowing and therefore accessible. The compositions and improvisations flow seamlessly into one another, the lively back and forth between the musicians ensures wonderful alternation; the quiet, and at certain moments even seemingly spherical segments draw you in just like the powerful and experimental ones do.
It's this unconventional mix paired with an extraordinary passion for music that makes the difference here. The way in which the four instrumentalists weave the individual elements together, place their melodies and rhythmic structures in suspenseful and steadily thickening arcs, and how they skilfully turn up the intensity, testifies to a broad understanding of how to create a certain mood with music that captivates you immediately.
"Sunkeeper" has become an album that appeals to the mind as well as the soul, summoning you to listen intensively while excitingly entertaining you.
Reviews for "Sunkeeper"
"Kirchmair's elegant pickings nestle gently around the discreetly driving grooves of drummer Andjelko Stupar and the fine bass tones of tuba player Ali Angerer, only to make way for David Jarh's lyrical playing. A successful balancing act that does justice to the title of the album, which is often flooded with light." Jazzthetik
"With "Sunkeeper", the Tyrolean guitarist Achim Kirchmair managed to successfully create an album that conveys a wonderful lightness. Fusion jazz rich in elegance, compositional sleekness and discreet unobtrusiveness." Concerto
"This time the Slovenian trumpeter David Jarh joins his usual trio […] and provides for an additional melodic level. […] Very original and, and often as not, extremely well done." Concerto
"A manifesto of improvising serenity, of harmonic nobility" Jazzthing
"The tracks of the Kirchmair Trio, complemented by trumpeter David Jarh as a guest, sway lightly between the genres, jazzy, loungy [...]" Tiroler Tageszeitung
"Achim Kirchmair lets chords swell, puts delicate flageolet tones over them, lets the strings vibrate for a long time, bell-like and disembodied, somewhere between Pat Metheny and John Abercrombie." Westfälische Nachrichten
"A sound for time-outs that is reminiscent of Pat Metheny or Bill Frisell." Kurier am Sonntag
Going to Ladakh ( O-tone music 2018)
By deciding to fly to Ladakh in North India in the autumn of 2013, I fulfilled a long-held personal aspiration.
In the run-up to the trip, I had been working on a design for a piece of music that has now become the title song of my new album, "Going to Ladakh". To me, it is so touching that the main melody of this piece would almost become like a harbinger reflecting the course of my journey.
Originally, I had planned a few trekking tours in the north of the country, and wanted to travel to the south of the country later, but soon after the landing in Dheli it was clear that there would be a change of plan, because I had forgotten my mountain boots in Austria.
In other words, my new plan was: no plan.
That is how I came to participate in the so-called "Kalachakra" in Leh (North India) for two weeks. This is a high Buddhist religious ritual, translated as "Wheel of Time", performed in the presence of the Dalai Lama. The practice associated with the Kalachakra is also referred to as the Kalachakra for world peace, since it is also intended to fulfil the function of bringing people together.
It was also about inner and outer purification, soothing local spirits. The hours-long daily chants of the Buddhist monks, the calm and serenity in their voices, was an inspiration for my music. And yet worldly encounters have also found their way into my songs, such as the answer of a taxi driver to my question "How long will we be on the road?", to which he replied, it is first life that counts, and then time.
("First live, second time").
The zest for life and spirituality of the local population, despite obvious material poverty, touched me as a person and as a musician. The two-month trip to Ladakh introduced a deep inner satisfaction into my life.
I have transformed this feeling acoustically within my new compositions.
"Your new album has become something well-rounded and successful. I am especially charmed by your moody intros and soundscapes. An unusual lineup, with two of Austria's leading instrumentalists, guarantees a unique band sound and plenty of room for your ideas. The music is pleasantly fresh and sounds outstanding."
Heinrich von Kalnein, saxophonist, composer, lecturer at the University of Graz"
San Pol ( Achim Kirchmair)
N´Aron ( Achim Kirchmair)
On the Road ( Ali Angerer)
Going to Ladakh ( Achim Kirchmair- Ingrid frida Moser)
Waltz me ( Ali Angerer)
Do Coracau ( Achim Kirchmair)
1301 ( Ali Angerer)
You left us alone ( Achim Kirchmair)
Bilk ( Ali Angerer)
Love ( Achim Kirchmair)
We had a two days recording session in the private house of Seppl Sturm.
For me it was important that every song was not played too often during the recording session.
Most of the compositions were played one or two times. We have decided not to listen to the single admission but trust our feeling whether it was good. At this point I would like to thank Ingrid Frida Moser. She has judged outstanding the recording. Short inquiries “What you think?” and her answers have helped us very much. Thus we have succeeded in remaining fresh.
In “waltz me” and “Do Coracau” I have played a Solo afterwards and in “on the road” an accompanying guitar.
Otherwise no overdubs.
Seppl Sturm - Studio ,Equipement und Gastgeber
Benni Klinger - Tontechmik Aufnahmevideos und Studio Fotos
Ingrid frida Moser - Aufnahmeleitung
Thomas Mauerhofer - Mix
Overdub- recording Live In Trees Music
Emil Spany - Master
Ali Angerer - Covergestaltung
Reinhard Artberg - Coverbild