Kimmo Pohjonen: Sensitive Skin

review kimmo x1 cong

They’re pleasantly mad in Finland: any country that would enter a hard rock/heavy metal band into the Eurovision Song Contest has got to be eccentric. The fact that Mr Lordi won shows that we find such behaviour endearing.

Thus with this, a prog album from an accordionist, featuring the Kronos Quartet and distributed by the classical label Ondine, whose other releases feature the likes of the Los Angeles and Czech Philharmonics and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
It’s certainly stimulating. Imagine Enya releasing a prog album that features the accordion and Knifonium (less dangerous than it sounds; it’s actually a slightly freaky synthesiser) and you are a tiny part of the way there.

This is mostly instrumental, though there are some vocals in odd places, vocalisation more than vocals. In Anemone there is something close to throat singing at one point.

It’s not really like anything we can think off: the closest we can get to is Vangelis, as it’s got the same kind of synths-playing-classical tunes thing going on, but there’s a folkier lilt to it that has a Celtic flavour, despite Kimmo being a Finn. Some parts are stirring and would make good music for a film — indeed, the end of Sulo (which features tubular bells, obviously) would have slotted well into Mr Vangelis’s score for Chariots of Fire, possibly if they combined the scene where they run down the beach training with Rocky’s run up the famous steps in Philadelphia.

It’s fascinating but demanding, though never hard to listen to. We’re not sure you could ever love it, but prog/world music fans who want to go out on a limb could give it a whirl. It’s out on Octopus, Octo 4132.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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