In the early and mid-1990s I worked in a small record store to finance my studies. It was badly paid but working there was a lot of fun (especially more than working at the assembly line) because the store had a social function as well. People came to talk about politics, movies, TV series and the latest music, of course. So I could recommend unknown bands and albums to the clients and vice versa. Some of these people have become friends for life. In the meantime I have changed sides, but because of this background I still prefer going to record stores instead of buying music on the net and I satisfy my ravenous appetite for free jazz and improvised music at Ludwig Beck’s in Munich. Ernst Nebhuth, the man in charge for jazz there, knows so much about this music (for sure a lot more than I do) and I could spend hours with him in the store exchanging the latest news, anecdotes, rumours and listening to his recommendations. This was how I got to know Andreas Kaling’s album.
As if there was a Tomorrow consists of eight of Kaling’s own compositions and four cover versions: Feist’s “Graveyard”, King Crimson’s "People" (from their 1995 Thrak album), Franz Schubert’s version of “Der Mond ist aufgegangen” and the hymnbook classic “Mitten im Leben sind wir vom Tod umfangen” (the English meaning is “in the midst of life we are surrounded by death”) – something like the album’s main topic. The songs celebrate life in all its variations – like in “Tears and Joy” - and therefore death must be a part of it, as pieces like “Death – No Death” or “Passover (to Barbara Buchholz)” suggest. Highlights of the album are “Graveyard”, which has always been one of my favorite Feist songs, in which Kaling adds an angry drive and abrasiveness to the breezy original “Bring ‘em all back to life” lyrics and “Der Mond ist aufgegangen” (The moon has risen), which Kaling alienates beyond recognition. The songs groove, they rock, they are funky and fun to listen to with all their percussive and rhythmic clacks, the buzzes, the hums, the wheezing, and the sustained notes in the low register.
As if there was a Tomorrow is an album for solo bass saxophone and the back of the album cover points out that there were no overdubs, no loops and that all the music was played live, which is hard to believe because there are lots of passages where you hear at least two saxophones (e.g. in “Passover”). If you like Colin Stetson’s “New History Warfare Vol.2: Judges” you should definitely give it a try.
Watch the ”Graveyard“ video here: