, Kimmo Pojhonen has produced his most ambitious work to date. First performed live at the Savoy Theatre, Helsinki (from which this recording is taken), Kalmuk
sees Pojhonen and regular collaborators Abdissa Assefa (percussion) and Samuli Kosimen (sampler and percussion) augmented by a 15-piece symphony orchestra, comprising members of Finland's Tapiola Sinfonietta. It is a hugely courageous and chaotic work in which Pojhonen's trademark one-man performances of accordion and loop effects have expanded through the prominent use of strings and woodwind.
Kalmuk's opening piece "Kellua" playfully mimics the sound of an orchestra tuning and warming up, and warm up they should considering the energetic "Mantis" that follows. As Pohjonen squeezes and pushes buttons to produce all manner of unearthly sounds from his instrument, Kosimen feeds his signal through live effects and loops into the quadraphonic sound system. One thing that remains from Pohjonen's earlier recordings such as his 1996 solo debut Kielo is improvisation. This does not exclude the accompanying orchestra who are encouraged to explore Kalmuk's themes and dispense with music stands and printed music.
Pojhonen's ability to listen and react to the orchestra is to be respected. For someone with so much critical acclaim and obvious talent, he wisely adopts a collaborative position throughout the work, only stepping obviously into the limelight for "Vortex", in which we hear his guttural five-row accordion pumped and stretched to its extremities. --Robert Smoughton
Kimmo Pohjonen is one of the most respected and in-demand musicians and performers in Finland. An accordionist of exceptional ability and imagination, Kimmo's musical history goes back more than twenty years in rock, folk, avant garde, improvisation, classical, dance and theatre music projects. In 1996 he embarked on a solo career with his solo 5-row accordion project, featuring extreme and original compositions, live loops and effects, a dynamic and animated stage performance, orchestrated lights and quadraphonic sound.