"Kalabrese might be deep house music's first great defector since Matthew Herbert."
"He's certainly its most inventive upsetter since Isoleé."
Now forget we mentioned both those names because Rumpelzirkus, Kalabrese's beguiling debut album, absolutely deserves to be heard on its own terms.
Kalabrese is one of the more glittering characters in Zurichs nightmusicscene and mingles since a couple of years in the frontline, as jockey, producer, promoter and as club owner. Through his very own style as a producer he caused a stir outside of Switzerland too and through his releases on the well-known Perlon label he gained attention by many. The feedback on "Hühnerfest" the follow-up of "Chicken Fried Rice" became even better. DJs like Laurant Garnier, Ricardo Villalobos, Luke Solomon and Rainer Trüby didn't stop spinning this true disco-funk-stomper that was produced together with a brass orchestra.
Rumpelzirkus, Kalabreses first Longplayer which has been released in may/june 2007 through Stattmusik/Kompakt , is "Kalabrese" from it's first sound until it's last. It's a pure piece of Kalabrese and his first "featurelength"-album. It rumbles and works the funk organically and songorientated. Passionate playing is not only a characteristic of Kalabrese every musician on the album likes to do it: Kate Wax, who has given her voice to "Not The Same Shoes", Flo Götte, who plays the bass on "Body Tight" or the 24 years old trombonist Michael Flury, who travels around the globe with his instrument and a reputated big band. Not only classical instruments have been used for this album: The skilled percussionist Kalabrese throws in his songs everything that makes sound and often things, that wasn't built for playing on it, but for kitchen- or gardenwork.
Rumpelzirkus sounds like a spontaneous Live-Session with good buddies and at the same time like a mirror of the time, Kalabrese had, while he was working on his songs: Rumpelzirkus is an absolutely individual album with everything on it, that lacerates the heart or unburdens it. Rumpelzirkus is a great piece of music, made for the morning after and after everything. It's an album like the sunrise after a long night out in the clubs. And it's a collection of potential favourite songs: Who listens exactely will find his own favourite song on Rumpelzirkus.
"A month ago or so, I threw something up about this album on Riff Market, something to the extent of Zurich's Kalabrese being 2007's Jamiroquai, something about his debut Rumpelzirkus LP being a gateway into the smooths: smooth jazz, smooth talking, smooth love. Call me flip but I really think I was dead-on. There's something really sultry to Rumpelzirkus, not unlike Herbert/Siciliano productions, and in general the understated '70s Wurlitzer jazz-funk feel reminds me of Grover Washington Jr., how a track like "Mr. Magic" can get you really hot but never actually make you sweat. The groove is the thing here, and when Kalabrese finds one he really lets it linger, never feels pressure to build it up or break it down too quickly. He's curiously patient, in a way that reminds you that Kalabrese shares his name with Calabrese, the black grape behind Sicilian wines. That reminds you that you didn't even have to look this up, that you know about this because you're older and mellower and wine's been your drug of choice for a year now. What I'm pained to say, basically is that Rumpelzirkus is a little bit A.O., and certainly won't destroy you like a good club track, and you have to prepare yourself to be easy here. You have to be OK with that."