208

Ktu: 8 Armed Monkey

Michael McCaw By

Sign in to view read count
KTU, pronounced K2, has a lot of things working against it when it comes to finding potential listeners. When someone picks up an album that consists of musicians performing with a Warr guitar, vocal samples, rhythmic devices, and accordion, there isn't a reference point to really draw on that would even come close to the sounds these four individuals are able to create through their talents of alchemy. What they do have going for them is being on the consistently vibrant and boundary-pushing Thirsty Ear label, and hopefully people will be willing to make a leap of faith into this engrossing set of music.

KTU, a double duo formation of musicians—Kimmo Pohjonen and Samuli Kosminen of Kluster, plus Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn from King Crimson and the duo TU—creates not so much a soundscape, but an enveloping world of sound. A convoluted analogy would be as if someone decided to put together such disparate recordings as King Crimson's Thrak, DJ Spooky vs. Dave Lombardo's Drums of Death, random voice samples, chants, and portions of Yann Tierrson's Amelie score, then remixed them, layered one on top of the other, and applied an insurgent rhythm not unlike the churning of Dream Theater.

Nonetheless, Pohjonen is the uncredited leader here, singly or jointly contributing four of the five songs, and his accordion is certainly a driving force behind the music. He plays with a variety of techniques, including meticulously layering his accordion not unlike the way Bill Frisell does with his guitar, looping sounds and playing them backwards, sustaining bent notes, and using volume swells as thematic and soloing devices.

Gunn's Warr guitar also serves as a consistently interesting solo voice within the group. A combination of both bass and guitar more similar to a Chapman stick than Charlie Hunter's axe, it is played by tapping the strings which allows Gunn to deliver numerous parts at the same time and utilize a myriad of sounds from the King Crimson-like knotty lines of "Absinthe to seemingly floating bass swells on top of an electro-acoustic guitar bed of sound on "Keho.

Of the many highlights of the album, some of the especially ingenious in nature are the ringing bell breaks in "Absinthe, the crescendo of beats and accordion that crests in "Sumu, the melodically layered "Sineen, and the otherworldly "Keho, where the listener drifts through space while being presented with sounds from all angles.

And although the music may appear to sound awkward based on this description, it draws one in to repeated listening and reveals more beauty every time. One then begins to discover new sounds and how they are built, not by mysticism but of collaborative science. Throughout the record, everyone contributes to the music through both conventional (by today's standards) and unconventional means, creating a truly unique sound—one that people of more exploratory tastes should definitely seek out.

Visit Kimmo Pohjonen on the web.


Track Listing: Sumu; Optikus; Sineen; Absinthe; Keho.

Personnel: Kimmo Pohjonen: accordion, voice; Trey Gunn: Warr guitar; Samuli Kosminen: accordion, voice samples; Pat Mastelotto: rhythmic devices.

Title: 8 Armed Monkey | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Triloka: Music for Strings and Soloists" CD/LP/Track Review Triloka: Music for Strings and Soloists
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: May 7, 2017
Read "Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter" CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson" CD/LP/Track Review Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 2, 2017
Read "Sermon Organ Combo" CD/LP/Track Review Sermon Organ Combo
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 29, 2017
Read "The Many Minds of Richie Cole" CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Live at PafA" CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.