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Kimmo Pohjonen – Earth Machine Music

November 12, 2011
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Kimmo Pohjonen, Earth Machine Music, UK tour 2008, great video (click here). 

Finnish accordionist-eccentric-rock-star Kimmo Pohjonen has done several residencies in farming communities using the various sounds of their animals and machinery to compose and perform with. One review noted that it was the first time they’d seen performers (animals) eaten at the end of a performance.

It looks like a serious lot of fun for him and for the whole rural town/region/area he’s able to work in. How often can an avante-garde classical player orchestrate that? We should bring him to Vancouver! Maybe there’s an Urban Machine Music version to be had.

[Let me totally swipe and reprint this unbeatable content from Kimmo’s site, which has much more cool stuff about him and his boundary shattering work:]

foto by Ilpo Musto

concept and design by Bigfish TV: www.bigfish.tv

In May 2008, Kimmo Pohjonen embarked on the EARTH MACHINE MUSIC tour of UK.

The seeds of Earth Machine Music began in summer of 2006 with the Ite Festival concert in Rämsöö, Finland where Pohjonen performed live with farming machines operated by local farmers. The UK tour 2008 concept involved Pohjonen meeting local farmers in advance, sampling the sounds of local machines, engines, equipment, farm implements, tools and any sound-emitting creation, inanimate or animate, mechanical or living. Pohjonen composed new music using these sounds and integrated them into his accordion sounds, samples and constructions. The actual concerts, performed in local farms, featured Pohjonen with accordion and sampled sounds, creating new musical soundscapes live in real time performance with the local farmers and machine operators. Due to each farm having different equipment and sound sources, Pohjonen composed and arranged a unique work for each farm on the tour.

Pohjonen was assisted by surround sound designer Heikki Iso-Ahola.

The UK tour was organized by Maija Handover / Sound UK.

Hall Farm, Nowton. (Bury St Edmunds Festival)
Pohjonen performed in barn on a local farm in Nowton as part of the Bury St Edmunds Festival. The farm is also home to a large collection of vintage tractors dating back to the 1940s.

Manor Farm, Cocking, West Sussex (County Arts Service West Sussex + Roots Around The World)
Earth Machine Music took place in what are now redundant farm buildings on the Cowdray Estate. The Estate has a number of working farms and all of the farmers were really enthusiastic about the event. There was a hog roast and local specially brewed Earth Machine Music beer to enjoy before the performance. Earth Machine Music provided the West Sussex rural arts unit (one of only two in the country) with its first opportunity to work in local farms and engage with this area of the rural community in this way. They worked in collaboration with the local promoter, Mark Ringwood / Roots Around The World, who has a longstanding relationship with the farms and the local community.

Westcott Barton, Middle Marwood, Barnstaple, North Devon (Beaford Arts).
Westcott Barton is situated in its own secluded valley where there has been a homestead since Saxon times; it is even mentioned in the Domesday Book and was the home of the Chichester family during the 17th century. The family dominated this part of North Devon during its heyday of trade when nearby Barnstaple was a major port. The main farmhouse building is a Grade II listed Devon longhouse and facing the house is a large barn, and whilst Westcott Barton is no longer a working farm there are relics from its working life including a water wheel and threshing machine. Beaford Arts (one of the oldest rural touring networks in the UK) is working with local young farmers groups and others to be part of the project as well as exploring possible related activity such as involving local music students.

Park Farm, North Aston, Oxfordshire (Oxford Contemporary Music).
Park Farm is a working organic beef and vegetable farm situated in the middle of the stunning Oxfordshire countryside. In addition to selling organic meat, the farm has a small organic dairy and runs an organic vegetable box scheme, as well as promoting natural hedge rows and other environmental initiatives. An acclaimed food artist is also in residence at the farm and created an installation as part of the Earth Machine Music event plus there was a small pre-show farm tour to learn about Park Farm’s working practice.

You can see the fun he and the audience are having when he gets the instrument to sound like a tractor starting up… and then he gets going.

Earth Machine Music continued with performances in Rämsöö, Finland, August 16 and 17, 2008, as part of theMotor Music Festival. Also participating in the festival are Samuli Kosminen and Jukka Perko. Rämsöö is the location of the first Earth Machine Music concert by Pohjonen in 2006. Both performances were sold out and Stalker web magazine has a report and fotos. Mikki Kunttu was also on hand to take some fotos.

Earth Machine Music in Australia, 2009:
Earth Machine Music continued in July 2009 with a tour in Queensland Australia,organized by Queensland Music Festival.
July 25: Winton, Queensland, Australia – Queensland Music Festival

July 28: Blackall, Queensland, Australia – Queensland Music Festival
July 31: St. George, Queensland, Australia – Queensland Music Festival

ABC Australian television broadcast a program about Kimmo Pohjonen’s recent July / August Earth Machine Music tour of Australia. The program, entitled “Barb-Wired for Sound”, was part of the cultural series called Landline and was shown across the Australian continent.
The eleven minute video program can be viewed on the ABC website:
ABC / Landline – “Barb-Wired for Sound”

Earth Machine Music press:

Farmers Weekly

The Guardian

Times Online

Seen and Heard (Devon)

EADT (Suffolk and Essex)

foto by Ilpo Musto

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