8 Armed Monkey
Accordian-based prog-rock?! Leave it to members of King Crimson and Kluster to forge a path through this absurd combination of sounds. In all honesty, though, how is it that no one has thought of this before? The mixture of slow, foggy shanty melodies from the bellows with guitar and electronic frippery (no pun intended) is ingenious. Regardless of whether the attempted sound is space age folk or ancient techno, the disc succeeds in its mission on nearly every track. “Sineen,” a seafaring shanty for astronauts, is probably the best and most accessible track on here. Even at its extremes — when garbled, gibberish vocal samples collide with frenetic instrumentation — KTU doesn’t sacrifice all melodic structure for mere experimentalism. Previous enjoyment of free jazz and other avant-garde genres might help with the enjoyment of this album, but it’s certainly not a pre-requisite. Fans of traditional port town folk music, and even klezmer, should find 8 Armed Monkey a natural extension of those archetypes into the 21st century.
Thirsty Ear: www.thirstyear.com