photo in blue tones of two musicians playing

Exotic Sin, 2022 Photo: Thor Brødreskift

Exotic Sin

Kenichi Iwasa and Naima Karlsson form the duo Exotic Sin. Improvisation and live recording are at the core of their collaborative process, integrating acoustic instruments and simple electronics to play with the contrasts and cohesions of natural, digital and intuitive sounds.

The duo collide piano, trumpet, flutes, percussion and two of Don Cherry’s “zen saxophones” (woodwinds handmade by attaching reed mouthpieces to plastic plumbing parts), with loops, live sampling, and anachronistic ’90s keyboards. The duo first came together in 2018 for a performance celebrating the art and music of Naima’s grandparents, Moki and Don Cherry, before continuing as an independent unit that still incorporates some of the Cherrys’ instruments as well as their synergetic integration of improvised music with visual art.

Naima Karlsson (b. 1982, Sweden) is a multi-disciplinary artist, musician and composer based in London and Skåne. Her practice interweaves sonic and visual forms led by interests in repetition, improvisation, and relationships between language, image, symbol and sound. Naima is also an archivist and manager for the Estate of Moki Cherry and Cherry archive, and has facilitated several publications and exhibitions about the art and music of her grandparents Moki and Don Cherry.

Naima’s main instrument is the piano, as well as percussion, vibraphone, and organ. Improvisation is at the core of the artist’s musical process, combined with minimalist uses of tone, arrangement, and an inherently organic approach to playing. She has studied Don Cherry’s compositions and approach to piano with her uncles Eagle-eye and David Ornette Cherry, and with Mexican pianist and improviser Ana Ruíz. Naima is part of Exotic Sin duo with Japanese multi-instrumentalist Kenichi Iwasa, and she is currently working on a duo album and African historical research with Black American composer Angel Bat Dawid.

Kenichi Iwasa is a London based improviser and multidisciplinary artist from Japan, also known for his legendary Krautrock Karaoke night, and collaborations with visual artists and musicians such as Beatrice Dillon, Maxwell Sterling and Linder Sterling.
He currently performs with Naima Karlsson under the name Exotic Sin and released LP on Blank Forms.
Most recent live & recording collaborations have been with Neneh Cherry, David Ornette Cherry, Tyson, Denardo Coleman, Rebecca Salvador, Alexander Tucker, Alexis Taylor, Visio, Heith, Finley Clark, Lutto Lento, Blood Music.

Published 23 January 2024 · Updated 25 January 2024