BRILLIANT ! Blew me ******* socks off. I DJ'd for 22 years, love Reggae and German Bands such as Can and Neu - Kimmo Pohjonen is right up there, dramatic as HELL, weird as an electric frog - will be buying more (Y'man comes from another planet).
An astonishing work. I too, watched this on an arts programme and it captivated me from the opening bars. I agree with the reviewer who said lie back, relax and let the music wash over you. Unforgetable!
Recordings that sound great on first hearing are rare. Imagine it getting even better from there on. This is music like I have never heard before. In a way there are just two instruments: an accordeon and the Kronos Quartet, that get electronically manipulated to sound like..., yes, like what? This is every music lovers' dream that one could file under classical or rock or jazz or fusion or even folk or electronic or dance or best cd of 2011.
I was fortunate enough to see a live performance of "UNIKO" on the SkyArts channel a while back, and it caught my attention instantly. The music is indeed truly EPIC!
The Kronos Quartet is a group I was already familiar with, and a fan of their music. On this recording, they are joined by two remarkable musicians from Finland - Kimmo Pohjonen (accordion and voice), and Samuli Kosminen (string and accordion sampling, programming). Kimmo Pohjonen and Samuli Kosminen write all the music on this album.
The Kronos Quartet deserve great credit too for their wonderful performance. There are times when they sound like a full orchestra. It's astonishing. This is difficult music, but in keeping with their reputation, the Kronos Quartet play perfectly. There are also some wild solos too, which sound like Jimi Hendrix! There are many more tender, reflective moments in the music too, which create beauty and balance. This is a brilliant collaboration between fantastic, innovative musicians.
This music is an extraordinary mix of experimental Classical music and modern sampling, which blend seamlessly to produce a unique and breathtaking sound. Samuli samples the accordion and strings, and then plays them on an electronic percussion pad as rhythmic patterns. He also creates more abstract sounds and effects to add even more to the music.
Kimmo Pohjonen is like no other accordion player I have seen! Yes, there is a slight gypsy style in his playing, but he goes much, much further. His accordion playing is amazing. He also incorporates effects into his sounds, which take the familiar sound of "an accordion" into highly experimental territory. Imagine an accordion through a phaser or distortion pedal. He is also an extremely emotive musician - whether while playing electro-accordion or using his voice as an instrument. His solos are dramatic and edgy.
The audio quality of this CD is excellent, and through a good hi-fi, there is so much going on. Even although I watched a live performance of this work, this album continues to reveal so much more. It is impossible to categorize this music, but if you like something different and adventurous, then I recommend this album highly. "UNIKO" is a beautiful piece of music.
This is only the second time in 10 years that I have written a review on here, but "review" is far too grand a word for what I'm about to say.
I came across one of the tracks on a CD sampler (plug here for the excellent Songlines magazine). I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Every so often, just when I'm getting in a musical rut, along comes something so totally different that it just blows my socks off - and how. Once I'd heard the sample track (Plasma, Track 2), I was on to Amazon to buy the whole thing. I've played it about 5 times now, it's not instantly accessible music, far from it, each time I listen, there is so much more going on. It's music for people who like to listen 100% to music - this is not to be treated as "background music", that would be scandalous. These musicians are so talented.
There is another review here which describes the music far better than I can, I'm not going to try. Just go and buy it. If you're not sure, then check out YouTube, you can watch a live performance of the whole composition - it's astonishing in itself to think that this music could be played live, and so faithfully to the original as well. And Amazon, come on, I'd love to buy the DVD that appears on YouTube, but you don't seem to sell it.....get some in stock, please!!!
I don't have the music terminology to describe adequately the compelling grip that this CD overwhelms you with. The instrumentation(?) works brilliantly. It is intense and dramatic at times, dreamy and ethereal at others. I love just lying in bed and being swept along by it.