Words by Julian May
Finland’s ever-exuberant squeezebox supremo
Finnish accordion adventurer Kimmo Pohjonen says, rather surprisingly, that Sensitive Skin is the first album he has made on which he had enough time to plan and record in the way he wants to. Time and attention has clearly been lavished on each of these nine tracks; they build, pulsate and cascade. They are intricate and extensive, encompassing a wide sonic range: from the bellowing bass of his accordion, to the most delicate, icicle-like tinkling.
That Kimmo should exploit every sound available from his accordion – the rattle of buttons, the breathy wheeze of the bellows – as well as the occasional burst of conventional squeezebox melody and snatches of a tune, is to be expected. But on Sensitive Skin he moves deeper than ever into uncharted sonic territory, backed up by fellow pioneers such as the electronics artist Tuomas Norvio, percussionist Samuli Kosminen, Arto Järvelä, who plays nyckelharpa, and his old friends, the Kronos Quartet. Rather than accompanying Kimmo’s music, his guests are all deeply involved in his sound creations.
There is a great deal going on in each track but, though they are packed, they are not stuffed to bursting. Sensitive Skin is emotionally engaging, intellectually fascinating and demandingly exuberant.