KTU 8 Armed Monkey

This is one aptly titled, multifaceted output from Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto of King Crimson and Finnish heavyweights Samuli Kosminen and Kimmo Pohjonen. Incorporating, at great length, several specialised acoustic and electronic instruments, affects and gadgetry including accordions, accordion effects mechanisms, Warr guitar (a combination of guitar, bass and Chapman Stick) and electronic drums, KTU’s five-track debut is about as stylistically insane as it gets in classic rock. Forward thinking, definitely, but unfortunately the progressive, free-jazz mentality governing KTU creates an exhausting listen, because there is too much going on at once. While Krautrock, Scandinavian metal, Indo-jazz raga and folk dominate at times, North American trance, classic rock and pop peer in and out as well, beefing up each appendage on 8 Armed Monkey to the point where the clothes are too small to safely contain what is inside. This leaves the long list of ingredients to only showcase each musician’s individual talent while failing to properly meld together into anything listenable. This ends in a dissonant, uncomfortable experience that beckons the question: is there such a thing as being too progressive? While the answer is probably no, this comes pretty damn close. (Thirsty Ear)