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Preview: Uniko by Kimmo Pohjonen
Tristan Bath , August 22nd, 2013 08:06

UK premiere of Uniko to be played at London's Barbican in September

Finland’s premier bodybuilding avant accordionist, Kimmo Pohjonen and fellow Finn and múm’s percussionist/general samples wiz, Samuli Kosminen, are to perform the UK premiere of their composition, Uniko at the Barbican this September. Uniko was first premiered at the Helsinki Festival back in 2004, before being released by Finnish label Ondine in 2011. It was commissioned by America’s modern classical linchpins, the Kronos Quartet, who also perform on the piece - normally a sure indicator for interesting new music.

The piece’s seven movements see Finnish folk mesh with contemporary electronic tropes and Kronos’ strings, exploring the mechanic sonic possibilities of Pohjonen’s chameleonic squeezebox when electronically refracted. Over the course of an energetic hour for Kronos & Pohjonen, Samuli Kosminen filters and processes the players to craft new and unwieldy sounds. Now in its 40th year, and umpteenth incarnation, the Kronos Quartet are on top form on Uniko, with several high points showcasing David Harrington’s subtle instrumental prowess in particular. Other moments, demonstrate the unique variety of sounds offered by the accordion, from Pohjonen’s percussive body taps to the wind-like creaking of bellows.

Uniko’s a nicely slavic-sounding addition to the increasingly prominent canon of Icelandic-led, soppy electronics-and-strings mashups often lazily pedalled as ‘experimental music’. For fans of Jóhann Jóhannsson, Ben Frost and Efterklang.

Uniko’s UK premiere takes place on 18th September at London’s Barbican Hall. Find out more and book tickets here. Check out footage of the ace Kimmo Pohjonen live below.