He's been called an 'astronaut accordionist' and even 'Finland's Hendrix of the accordion'. Whatever the moniker, Kimmo Pohjonen's hyper-imaginative reinvention of the five-row chromatic accordion has made him a name to watch, and this is the second time he has been nominated for these awards.
Kimmo uses his Finnish folk roots as a creative springboard for an extraordinary hybrid of unhinged experimental music and performance art, taking his chosen instrument to unheard (of) places. He relishes all incidental noises the squeezebox makes, employing everything from bellows to buttons in a feverish search for new sounds. His beautifully lit shows segue one eye-poppingly radical idea after another, making full use of state-of-the-art technology to create percussive and tonal effects with looped samples, effects pedals and ingenious placing of microphones. It's all delivered through stunning surround sound systems and once seen and heard, is never forgotten. 'My goal is to explore the instrument because it's always had such a narrow minded image,' he says.
Encouraged by his father, a member of the local pelimannipiiri (folk music fraternity) in the town of Viiala, he started playing at the age of ten, and got his grounding in folk, dance music and rock. He studied classical music at the world famous Sibelius Academy from 1980-85, and then spent another year on folk. Always pushing the boundaries of his creative imagination, he has not looked back since launching his solo career in 1996. Parallel to this, Kimmo has also collaborated with a huge range of artists in the fields of dance, theatre, folk, rock and the avant-garde, contributing to 75 albums in the past decade.
His debut CD Kielo (1999) ranges from delicate folk melodies to shrieking squalls of noise. On Kluster (2002), he joins forces with leading Finnish percussionist Samuli Kosminen, who samples Kimmo's playing and abstract vocalizing to create a virtual accordion duo. Kalmuk (2002) was recorded with the 15-piece Tapiola Sinfonietta, hinting at the more formal aspects of his training. As half of the ongoing Kluster partnership, Kimmo teamed up with the Kronos Quartet in 2004, and also the following year with prog-rock King Crimson veterans Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn as 'KTU'. Their relatively conventional album 8 Armed Monkey contrasts with Uumen, (also 2005) and was the result of totally improvised live sessions with French drummer Eric Echampard. Whatever Kimmo does next, expect the unexpected.
A4WM 2003 Nomination
BBC Music: KTU Review
Manuela in Brighton
waw waw waw... Kimmo proves that music is Art!
Soenke from Germany
Yeah,Kimmo desrves the award.I saw him with KTU for the first time this year at the Moers Festival and was thrilled immediately like the rest of the audience.I came to see Trey and Pat but couldn`t avoid to look at Kimmo most of the time.That`s the short description of the birth of a new fan and I guess there was a baby boom in Moers that evening...
Disturbing, dark and delectable.
He deserves the award. For sure. I've seen him several times, with different projects. His sound is unique.He's genially inovative.
kimmo is the devil!
Owen from Australia
Kimmo deserves this award. KTU and Kluster are pure innovation and conviction. No boundaries. Pure genius. I have written a review of KTU's 8 Armed Monkey CD at http://www.projekction.net/textonly/thread.php?topic_id=2511 Nothing more need be said. Cheers, Owen