KTU: Gunn, Pohjonen, Mastelotto
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KTU: Gunn, Pohjonen, Mastelotto

Band Alternative Avant-garde


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The best kept secret in music


"KTU trio live in Tampere"

“KTU, the world’s most psychedelic power trio!...KTU comes on like a hybrid of Cream and latter day King Crimson, led by a Siberian mushroom shaman”
(Jussi Niemi, Aamulehti) - Aamulehti, Tampere

"KTU in Rolling Stone"

Rolling Stone magazine
Aug 10 2006

"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 , recorded live in 2004, 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 (without, of course, Robert Fripp). But I was stunned to discover, after the show, that KTU have yet to get an American gig, because, Gunn said, promoters are afraid of the word "accordion". People, look at it this way: Pohjonen plays the ultimate in air guitar. Now hit the phone."
(David Fricke, Rolling Stone)

- Rolling Stone

"KTU in Downbeat"


Downbeat review November 2005

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

"KTU in Wire"

REVIEW - WIRE Magazine

KTU - 8 Armed Monkey

In general, it is best to avoid any musician dubbed “the Hendrix of” their instrument. They usually turn out to be men with cheesy grins and dubious haircuts, dressed in crushed velvet, playing flashy solos on inappropriate instruments fed through expensive FX presets. 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 (It’s a relative of the Chapman stick, since you ask.) These two are best known as the rhythm section behind the current version of 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. (Wire – Keith Moline)

- Wire

"KTU in Songlines"

8 Armed Monkey
Rockadillo ZENCD 2101

Review, Songlines magazine, March April 2006

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

"KTU live in Portugal"


Gonçalo Frota, BLITZ:

“…it was from Kimmo Pohjonen’s KTU the most positive image of the day. The accordion ran away from convention as usual, was explosive as always, and with the help of the two King Crimson’s elements plus the percussionist Samuli Kosminen the rock charges took FMM to levels of physical engagement with the music not achieved untill then. The whole body was being sucked into that formation with music that has never happened before."

Mário Lopes, Diário de Notícias:

"KTU, with the "diabolic" Kimmo Pohjonen, were the most applauded band of the last day of the festival"
"If The Master Musicians of Jajouka are the ancestral spirits who's music has timeless resonance, KTU - "elected" by the crowd as the highlight of the night - imprison those same spirits in the urban schizophrenia of today. The project that reunites the Finnish Kluster (the accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen and the percussions and electronic samples man Samuli Kosminen) to the drummer Pat Mastelotto and the guitarist Trey Gunn, created on stage the hellish environment usual in Pohjonen’s music and went further to create convulsive, ghostly music, able to release gargoyles from its cement skin - and they, scarily, danced slow waltzes, improvised gothic jazz, adding unexpected funk in the encore, which was muscular and overwhelming."

Miguel Francisco Cadete, Público:

"Less festive (then Kíla) and much more confrontational was KTU's performance - that is, Kimmo Pohjonen and Samuli Kosminen (Kluster) with Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson). Commanded by Kimmo's demonic accordion, KTU created beautiful scenes, first warlike, then mystical, between fire and ice, in an endless ride through northern Europe plains. Kimmo's work was, once again, intense and unsurpassable, using the music produced by his accordion as a hurling weapon to not underestimate, in which he was accompanied by the also intricate onslaughts of Trey Gunn on his guitar/bass, by Kosminen's maniac manipulation of the sampler, and by Mastelotto's martial beat."
- Various


8 Armed Monkey CD (Thirsty Ear)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Daredevil accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen, stretching the definition, ability and sound of accordion beyond anything previously known, teams up with percussionist Pat Mastelotto and Warr-guitarist Trey Gunn are known for their work with King Crimson for the band KTU (pronounced “K2”). Conceived in 2004 (from the seed planted at SXSW 1999), KTU’s aim is to combine the creative energies, edge, imagination and other elements of the players to make something new, different and musically explosive, a sum greater and more electrifying that its parts. Material is mainly comprised of compositions by Pohjonen plus pieces by Gunn and Mastelotto and arrangements and improvisations by the band. Surround sound design and additional effects by Heikki Iso-Ahola. Their debut album 8 Armed Monkey, recorded live in Tokyo, was released in 2005 in America, Europe and Japan. (Note: additional fourth KTU member, sampling whizster Samuli Kosminen, who appears on the KTU CD and has performed with the band 2004-06, takes a break from the band during early 2007, resuming his place in late spring.)