208

Ktu: 8 Armed Monkey

Michael McCaw By

Sign in to view read count
Ktu: 8 Armed Monkey 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.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Miles Goes Wes" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Goes Wes
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Impulsive Illuminations" CD/LP/Track Review Impulsive Illuminations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Lightyears" CD/LP/Track Review Lightyears
by Jim Olin
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "Discoveries on Tracker Action Organs" CD/LP/Track Review Discoveries on Tracker Action Organs
by John Eyles
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Points of View" CD/LP/Track Review Points of View
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "The Django Experiment I & II" CD/LP/Track Review The Django Experiment I & II
by Peter Jurew
Published: April 2, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!