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Kaos Protokoll: A Music Crafted from Pictures and Moods

If LeFto or Gilles Peterson got it in their playlist then nine times out of ten it’s a certified nugget. And, although, LeFto might’ve had this one on air first, I’m pretty sure that we had the promo before him! Things just take a minute here. Jokes aside, big ups to the man LeFto for doing great work for the scene. Now, back to the topic at hand. Kaos Protokoll are a Swiss Jazz outfit. They’ve been around for a while, so they’re definitely not jumping on this new Jazz revival bandwagon.

They’re all about music as process, steadily and consistently expanding their musical syntax. This Friday, they will be dropping their latest release, an EP entitled New Chapter (Prologue Records). This 4-song collection of tunes clearly represents a paradigm shift in their development, and a movement away from the more punky and jagged and towards something more earthy, sublime and soulful. Although, their sound is very modern, with it’s textured swaths of electronics and chunky production – akin to the more progressive end of the beat community – there definitely is something of a spiritual jazz component to it as well. To find out more, we wrangled band leader and bass player, Benedikt Wieland, into a short interview.

Kaos Protokoll are Benedikt Wieland (bass and electronics), Flo Reichle (drums), Simon Spiess (horns) and Luzius Schuller (keys). The New Chapter EP also features spoken word artist Mr.Are.Dot. This coming Fall, the band will release their third full length record (Everybody Nowhere). We’re definitely looking forward to it!

There’s clearly a Spiritual Jazz component to your sound. Granted, your sound is very contemporary, but there is something of that to these new songs. Just a feeling or a mood?

I would definitely agree that this record is very inspired by moods, both musical and personal. But it’s also inspired personal changes in my life, as well as changes inside the band. In fact, it seems like everything just came together at the same time. I’m definitely driven by an impulse to go somewhere else, musically and personally. And the fact that Luzius and Simon joined the band that, by itself, altered the music. Simon has a very spiritual voicing in his playing and Luzius has such a huge understanding of sound. All of this made this record what it is.

Your previous releases were quite different, almost in every regard – what happened?

The previous Kaos Protokoll line up was a trio (bass, sax, drums). The music was about punchy riffs and fast lines. It was very powerful, in a rough punk-jazz type of a way, and sometimes it was very ironic, but it also had a bit of melancholy in it. Our goal back then was definitely to generate high energy. The first album was still very rough. On the 2nd one we used much more electronics and efx. After 5 years, I felt like doing something completely new. I couldn’t imagine recording another album like the previous two. I was always very inspired by music which isn’t clear in regards to where it comes from. To me, it’s fundamentally about emotions, moods and pictures which I try to translate into rhythms, melodies or harmonies.

Can you imagine the world embracing Spiritual Jazz the way it had in the 60s, or do you think it’ll always be a niche thing?

It would definitely be a good thing for the world, especially if you take the current social and political context into consideration.

What’s your all time favourite Spiritual Jazz record?

It’s definitely A Love Supreme, but also Karma by Pharoah Sanders

We’ve featured other Swiss Jazz acts here before – are we witnessing a Swiss Jazz Renaissance of some sort?

Yes, there definitely is a great spirit in this scene!!

Who should we be looking out for?

You mean bands, right? Trio Heinz Herbert, Egopusher and Björn Meyer. Lucia Cadotsch, Hely – there are so many!

In closing, what’s next for Kaos?

We’re on tour right now. The band is still very young in this particular constellation. Before we went on tour, we only played together at rehearsals and at the recording sessions.
So, its definitely important for us to get closer to each other before our LP „Everyone Nowhere“ will come out. It’s scheduled to drop in the fall.

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