On the Edge With Kimmo Pohjonen

Kimmo PohjonenIf you prefer accordion music that doesn’t play by the rules, check out Paul Sullivan’s excellent biography of Finnish avant-garde/experimental accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen. Playing a 5-row chromatic accordion, Pohjonen uses electronic effects like samples and loops, as well as heavy doses of improvisation, to push his instrument into uncharted territory. In addition to his solo work, he has collaborated with percussionist/sampler Samuli Kosminen, the Kronos Quartet, and former King Crimson members Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn.

“Sometimes it can be a bit strange for people that an accordion player is doing the kind of stuff that I am doing. But I’m getting such good feedback… I hear comments like, ‘I have never liked accordion, and this is the first time that I’ve liked some accordion music.’ And that is the best comment that you can get.”

According to his site, Pohjonen’s mission is “to expand the capabilities, sound, performance, scope and experience of the accordion in many different settings to levels never before seen or heard.” Judge for yourself — here’s a video clip of Pohjonen performing solo in 2002:

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