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"KTU (pronounced K2") are a quartet of devilishly integrated halves: avant-accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen and digital manipulator Samuli Kosminen from Finland, and drummer Pat Mastelotto and guitarist Trey Gunn from King Crimson. Their debut 8 Armed Monkey… is a robust tumult of Northern Lights sparkle, white-wolf guitar wail and rolling knotted thunder. Pohjonen is a wonder unto himself: animating his wind song with pedals and processing; attacking the bellows with the ecstatic fury of Jimi Hendrix. When I saw KTU play in Europe recently, they were as powerful and transgressive as the current killer Crimson."(David Fricke, Rolling Stone)

KTU: Siberian mushroom shaman King Crimson and Cream psychedelic power trio! (Jussi Niemi, Aamulehti)

"KTU is yet another vehicle for the prolific and extraordinary Kimmo Pohjonen. Here the Finnish accordionist is joined by his regular sample-meister Samuli Kosminen from his duo Kluster, alongside guitarist Trey Gunn and percussionist Pat Mastelotto from British prog-rockers King Crimson. Recorded live at a series of concerts in Helsinki and Tokyo, all five tracks are between seven and ten minutes long. "Sumu" is a thunderous barrage of noise with an intriguing duel between accordion and rock guitar. "Optikus" is cut from similar cloth with weirdly disembodied sampled voices. "Sineen" has a slower, menacing rumble and a Pink Floyd "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" vibe. "Absinthe" lurches with a wild, toxic propulsion and proceedings conclude with the atmospheric, sub-aquatic soundscape of "Keho", oddly reminiscent of those records of whales singing to each other. If we define world music as a sound rooted in some sort of tradition, 8 Armed Monkey probably doesn't even belong in these pages, for it has more in common with Krautrockers Can and Amon Duul than the Finnish folk voices of Varttina or the polkas of JPP. But full marks for invention. It knocks spots off most of the dull retro fare the rock world is currently producing. " (Nigel Williamson, Songlines)

"In general, it is best to avoid any musician dubbed "the Hendrix of" their instrument. …In this case, however, the instrumentalist in question is Finnish accordionist virtuoso Kimmo Pohjonen, a player who can genuinely claim to be extending the range of his instrument both technically and technologically and who has proved his worth as a composer and improviser of real originality on albums like 1999's Kielo. He is supported here by an ensemble that includes the duo of Pat Mastelotto on acoustic and electronic drums and Trey Gunn, the Warr guitar maestro… These two are best known as the rhythm section behind…prog heavyweights King Crimson.

In fact, while Pohjonen is clearly the star of 8 Armed Monkey, the album is a close stylistic relative of the duo's 2003 release TU, which beefed up the lunging polyrhythmic momentum of Crimson and added layers of loops, samples and knife-edge improvised interplay. Also featured here is samplist Samuli Kosminen, whose role seems to be to ensure that any remaining space in the music - of which, believe me, there is precious little - is crammed full of sound.

The result is dense, angular and exhausting Prog/improv, tremendously impressive on first listen but difficult to live with subsequently. "Absinthe" typifies the album. Everything about it is awesome. Its bludgeoning Magma-style bassline, its odd-metre riffology from Pohjonen's massive accordion are awesome. Gunn's solo, recalling Pat Metheny on Song X, is awesome. Mastelotto's overlapping bell patterns are awesome. But in the silence that follows, as you stare slack-jawed at your speakers and you find yourself marveling "Awesome!" in moronic wonder, you'll understand the damage that's been done." (Keith Moline, The Wire)

"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." (Michael McCaw, All About Jazz)


KTU's 8 Armed Monkey could serve as the score for a futuristic sci-fi tome, in which the digital age inadvertently creates a society venturing toward godlessness. The music spoken here provides a foundation for one's psyche to run rampant. Finnish accordionists Samuli Kosminen and Kimmo Pohjonen, along with King Crimson's rhythm section, have fabricated an outrageously bizarre, yet easily attainable program. Consisting of sampled voices, oscillating accordions, alien chants and suspenseful electronics-heavy movements, this endeavor uncannily bespeaks a paradoxical, good-time jaunt into the netherworld.

Kosminen and Pohjonen sneak a few pleasant melodies into a mix featuring indeterminable vocal chants and Warr guitarist Trey Gunn and percussionist Pat Mastelotto's synchronous rhythmic maneuvers. Teeming with background electronic treatments and spaced-out jungle grooves, the quartet merges a distinct sense of drama with ominously designed arrangements. It's shock treatment for the mind's eye, but the musicians periodically remind us that it's all for the sake of fun and invention.
On "Sineen", the accordionists interlace syrupy harmonic intervals with the rhythm section's weighty and programmatically inclined motifs. The climactic and thrusting line of attack continues with a King Crimson slant during "Absinthe". They take a break with an ethereal sound-shaping methodology, showcased on the finale, "Keho". (Glenn Astarita, Downbeat)


Edits:
Downbeat "KTU's 8 Armed Monkey could serve as the score for a futuristic sci-fi tome, in which the digital age inadvertently creates a society venturing toward godlessness… an outrageously bizarre, yet easily attainable program… uncannily bespeaks a paradoxical, good-time jaunt into the netherworld... shock treatment for the mind's eye" (Glenn Astarita)

The Wire (UK) - "…awesome…awesome…awesome…awesome… in the silence that follows, as you stare slack-jawed at your speakers and you find yourself marveling "Awesome!" in moronic wonder, you'll understand the damage that's been done" (Keith Moline)

All About Jazz - "8 Armed Monkey offers an intense ride that simultaneously resembles a simple, ancient, shamanistic ritual and a futuristic soundscape, overloaded with disturbing and tempting information." (Michael McCaw)

Misc press quotes:
All Music Guide - "Gunn and Mastelotto are practically an 8 armed monkey themselves, with Gunn's amazing technique on the Warr touch guitar and Mastelotto's combination of drums and triggered sound."

Tucson Weekly - "Phenomenal musicianship and a future-primitive angle of attack give KTU an edge that cuts sharply both ways."

Jazzreviews.com - "It fuses volumes of complexity, and succinctly expressed concerns that are endemic to all humanity. It is music like this that is needed in the world."

Blogcritics.Org - "Music that manages to be both soothing and sinister."

Godsend Online - "Superb and visionary sounds for the adventurous. Bravo!"

LMNOP.Com - "Unpredictable and intriguing experimental tracks here."

LA Times, Greg Burk: "KTU, 8 Armed Monkey (Thirsty Ear). Loops and rhythm atmospheres from Trey Gunn (Warr guitar), Samuli Kosminen (samples), Pat Mastelotto (percussion, etc.) and Kimmo Pohjonen (accordion). Play it at a party and wait for "What the hell is that?" Answer: fine art."

What happens when the rhythm section of King Crimson teams up with Helsinki, Finland's Jimi Hendrix of the accordion? KTU, the trio of Kimmo Pohjonen, Warr-guitarist Trey Gunn and Marble Falls, Texas, drummer Pat Mastelotto. The avant-folk/jazz/rock hybrid act wove layer upon layer of complex grooves on top of wildman Pohjonen's electronically processed yoiking (throat-singing) and looked great doing it. If you can picture a guy in a silver and black silk samurai outfit and biker boots dancing around with an accordion, that is. (Stuart Derdeyn, Vancouver Sun)