8 Armed Monkey
KTU (pronounced kay-too) combines King Crimson members Trey Gunn (Warr guitar) and Pat Mastellotto (rhythmic devices) with the Finnish duo Kluster: Kimmo Pohjonen (accordion, voice) and Samuli Kosminen (samples). Only one of the five cuts on 8 Armed Monkey is attributed to all four members of KTU, but almost all of them sound like group improvisations. Once a groove is established, textures come and go, but in most cases very little forward motion happens.
The quartet recorded 8 Armed Monkey at its first performances last year in front in Tokyo and Helsinki. The suspense built by the first few minutes of "Sumu" seems to point toward an explosive moment that will happen once everything kicks in. But instead of breaking into a heavy groove, the band plays little more than an intro in search of a song: dark backgrounds, creepy accordion, a brief guitar solo and, at one point, vocals that sound like Keith Jarrett or the monster living in your childhood closet.
"Absinthe," penned by Gunn and Mastellotto, sounds closer to their other band and is more realized. A 13/8 groove, with a breakdown of bells and whirling tube, gives the guitarist a chance in the spotlight. The group composition "Keho" is built on a one-note loop that gets layered with percussive chains and solos by Pohjonen and Gunn. Still, at 10 minutes, it loses a little something in the transfer from concert to disc.