Take one accordion/sampling duo with a penchant for electronic effects and unclassifiable weirdness; add one beastly rhythm section known for pushing boundaries whenever possible. Combine, shake & stir, sit back and fasten your seat belt.
KTU - pronounced K2 - is the combined forces of TU (Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto) and Kluster (Samuli Kosminen and Kimmo Pohjonen). Some of their musical personalities might be familiar to some of us, but that can't prepare you for the melting pot that is 8-Armed Monkey. This is a surreal mix of semi-avant-garde, world-beat and jazz that manages the rare trick of being innovative throughout but always listenable.. and it's one of the most addictingly forward-thinking albums I've heard in a good long while. If you've ever wondered how King Crimson's ProjeKcts would have turned out if they'd gone tribal rather than electronic, or what a Jaco Pastorius/Mickey Hart/John Zorn collaboration might have sounded like in some parallel universe, here's your chance. Don't let the accordion scare you off - I'm not that fond of the instrument either, but this is the first project where I've been able to listen to it without being reminded of polka or klezmer music. That alone is a treat.
If there's any reference point at all for this stuff, it's either Can (think Ege Bamyasi/Tago Mago) or electric Miles Davis (circa Agharta and Pangaea). This disc covers a blizzard of moods & tones, but always has a perpetual organic rhythm underlying everything.. it grooves endlessly, but shifts and morphs so well it doesn't get boring or repetitive for one second. While Samuli and Pat keep the rhythm/sample pot boiling over, the others are busy stretching out with any random idea they can think of. Trey's Warr guitar work ranges from supple bass to sweet fuzzy guitar sounds, always dead-on perfect for what's needed at any given moment. Pat has described Kimmo as "the Jimi Hendrix of the accordion," and one listen to "Absinthe" will confirm that for anyone who doubts. He squeezes nuances out of the instrument almost in the manner of a human voice, making it cry and sing like Hendrix or Jeff Beck at their most scorching.
One of the best things I can say about 8AM is that it works on a few eclectic levels. It's easy to listen to right away (the grooves are addictive in the extreme), but there are layers upon layers that'll keep creeping out for a long time. It covers a whole lot of ground (dark, peaceful, simple, frenetic, beautiful, chaotic) but never loses its own identity.. and that identity is truly in a league all its own. If you like Miles or King Crimson's more improvisational stuff, or just feel like something new & adventurous, then you want this album. You just might not realize it yet.