Earth Machine Music

Kimmo Pohjonen’s Earth Machine Music features Pohjonen performing live on farms in collaboration with local farmers and their machines, tools and animals. The seeds were planted in summer of 2006 with the Ite Festival concert in Rämsöö, Finland where Pohjonen performed live with farming machines operated by local farmers. The program then toured in UK in 2008 with British farmers. It involved Pohjonen first travelling to UK in advance of the tour, meeting local farmers, sampling the sounds of local machines, engines, equipment, farm implements, tools and any sound-emitting creation, inanimate or animate, mechanical or living. Pohjonen then returned to Helsinki and composed new music using these sounds and integrated them into his accordion sounds, samples and constructions. The 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. Earth Machine Music successfully toured Queensland Australia in 2009 as part of the Queensland Music Festival, with Australian farmers, machines, tools and animals.

The construction of the concept is clever, humourous, warm-hearted and politically topical - drawing attention to small farms amidst growing concerns not only about where our food comes from, but also about the evaporation of independent businesses in all areas of commerce. Its real saving grace, though, is the joy of watching a player who knows his instrument and can direct its behaviour with expertise. Pohjonen not only explores the traditional acoustic properties of the accordion, he also uses it as MIDI controller to create loop structures, while simultaneously handling an array of effects pedals and emotive vocalisations…..there's an undeniable primal energy to his almost anthemic recurring folk themes which tonight weave through farm life vignettes (shearing the sheep, starting the tractor, sorting the spuds in the delightfully rhythmic potato-riddler) and agriculturally-themed improvisations. Lisa Blanning, The Wire, UK