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MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Sweden


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Mattias IA Eklundh picture
Mattias IA Eklundh biography
When a young MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH saw FRANK ZAPPA at the age of 11, the then drummer's passion for music was forever changed. EKLUNDH then dropped out of school at the age of 13 to study the art of guitar playing.

EKLUNDH's believes is music is first and foremost a blissful showcase of guitar music, but also believes that there is something for everyone in his first two solo albums Freak Guitar and Freak Guitar: The Road Less Travelled. Along with those two solo albums, MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH has been the creative guitar force behind FREAK KITCHEN.

MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH's solo albums are highly reccomeneded for fans of FREAK KITCHEN and anyone who enjoys blissfull guitar music in a variety of styles. EKLUNDH's Freak Guitar albums have been described as "Slayer meeting Steely Dan in a dark alley".

EKLUNDH has also been a guest musician for the likes of SOILWORK along with performing on YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and JASON BECKER tribute albums.


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Discography:
(Freak Guitar (1999))
(Freak Guitar - The Road Less Travelled (2004))

Mattias IA Eklundh official website

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MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH discography


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MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.39 | 8 ratings
Freak Guitar
1999
4.30 | 9 ratings
Freak Guitar - The Road Less Travelled
2004
2.96 | 4 ratings
Freak Guitar - The Smorgasbord
2013

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MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Freak Guitar - The Smorgasbord by EKLUNDH, MATTIAS IA album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.96 | 4 ratings

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Freak Guitar - The Smorgasbord
Mattias IA Eklundh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars Having established himself as one of the 21st century's most accomplished guitar gods, Sweden's MATTHIAS IA EKLUNDH proved himself as such with his two solo albums both entitled FREAK GUITAR where he proved to the world you can master the art of many forms of guitar playing: metal, jazz, gypsy swing, flamenco and blues and then add a huge heaping of creativity and new forms of guitar abuse and then blend it all together and make it sound like the most technical [&*!#] you've ever heard while making it ridiculously exciting and fun to experience at the same time. This kind of majesty is reserved only for the royalty of musical masters and EKLUNDH proved himself to be worthy of such praise having impressed even Steve Vai which landed him a coveted spot on his Favored Nations label. Unfortunately EKLUNDH opted to spend most of his time focusing on his band Freak Kitchen, a band that i have never been particularly blown away by. Well, it was a progressive guitar nerd's dream come true for me when i heard he was to release his third much anticipated release FREAK GUITAR: THE SMORGASBORD which was reported for a 2013 release. My excitement arose of this news but then was suddenly deflated when i heard that it was going to be a double album. Oh crap! That means there's going to be lots of filler, or so i thought to myself, but this is the FREAKIE GUITAR dude! Surely it must be up to par with his previous efforts. I kept my hopes high but dammit! I hate being right. This one has some great [&*!#] and a whole lotta filler.

My first impression with this album is that EKLUNDH is merely recycling ideas from his first two masterpieces. Yeah, there are plenty of interesting fresh ideas present here but there is far too much mediocrity and the totally unabashed element of surprise is missing from this release. EKLUNDH seems to be going through the motions of the standards he set forth on previous efforts but very rarely fails to up the ante in any way making it feel like he shot his wad on those two and this is sit back and smoke a cigarette follow-up. What really disappoints me about this is that he had a whole friggin' eight years since his last album to make this one so shiny and brilliant that it could only blow the lid off my roof. Well, it doesn't. I don't want to insinuate that i don't find the technical playing as brilliant as ever. That's certainly not the case at all. EKLUNDH remains a master of his chosen instrument and SMORGASBORD does not diminish this aspect of his music in any way, but as far as the creativity and well spring of freshness and startling ideas goes, his mojo seems to have been turned down to simmer. Maybe i am just so spoiled and impressed by the first two releases that i have deified this guy and am simply disappointed that his brilliance didn't align the universe in the proper way so that all bad music and mediocrity is sucked down a black hole only leaving the most creative and fertile musical possibilities. I dunno. Personally i feel he got distracted. He is now a father, has a family and has diluted his earlier passions with a whole host of others. Can't fault the man for that but can't say i'd not rather have another masterpiece either!

Really, this should have been trimmed down to a single album and even then it wouldn't be as interesting as his first two albums, but there are some brilliant moments on this release despite my ranting of how much i dislike this in relation to his others. I mean, mediocre EKLUNDH is still better than say, the best many artists can pump out in a decades long career. The recycling of ideas is the most noticeable thing going on here. There is the same focus on jazz meets progressive metal, unorthodox soloing and effects and his love of metalizing pop songs of yestercentury such as his take on Dean Martin's "That's Amore" and the classic song that was on the 70s TV show "The Muppets" in the form of "Mah Na Mah Na." Both of which are actually well done but a little cliche by EKLUNDH standards. As i said, this album just feels unfocused and more of a side project than his first two albums. Yeah, the production is better, there are more bells and whistles and all that but someone punctured the bag of creative juices and all sounds hollow and recycled to my ears with scant few exceptions (for example "Meralgia Paresthetica" is my favorite track and actually sounds like a logical evolution in the EKLUNDH sound). Disappointing to say the least but still interesting ideas to be found. I can only recommend for anyone just discovering EKLUNDH's music to start at the beginning with his first two releases "Freak Guitar" and "Freak Guitar: The Road Less Traveled" as those two releases blow this one away. After listening to all three albums it will become apparent why this is true.

Brilliant tracks: "Hells Bells" (AC/DC cover), "Sexually Frustrated Fruit Fly Flamenco", "Daily Grind Disco March," "Dogs Of Delhi," "The Harry Lime Theme," "Mah Na Mah Na," "The Nigerian Gynecologist," "Meralgia Paresthetica"

Throwaway tracks: "Matthias - The Beautiful Guy," "Peter, I Won't Drive Another Meter," "The Swede And The Wolf," "Mind Your Step," "Crossing The Rubicon," "Keep It The Dojo," "Special Agent Bauer," "Mandur And Morgan's Came Safari," "Safe To Remove Hardware"

The rest are ok to decent, but as i've quite clearly opined, nothing on this album blows me away like the entirety of the first two albums.

 Freak Guitar - The Road Less Travelled by EKLUNDH, MATTIAS IA album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.30 | 9 ratings

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Freak Guitar - The Road Less Travelled
Mattias IA Eklundh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Finding the time between his main gig of frontman for Freak Kitchen, MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH saved his best ideas for himself and the journey continues five years after his first bizarre concoction of musical madness with his second release under his own name - FREAK GUITAR: THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED. Right from the start this album sounds better in every way than the last and that's saying a lot because the first was utterly brilliant. The music is better written, better produced, the cast contains guest musicians playing the real thing instead of merely synthesized versions and best of all - the experimental factor has been turned up to 11!

The leading title track sets the stage for EKLUNDH's unique blend and tug-of-war between jazz, gypsy swing, metal, Zappa-esque humor and avant-garde weirdness. Slave to the melody, rarely does dissonance rule the roost and saved only for contrasting effects. The tracks are generally short and to the point but contained in each one of them is a wealth of musicality and influences with a healthy dose of highly innovated imaginative embellishments. Contained on this near hour experience is a totally ingenious way of melding progressive ideas into digestible packages. Even in the less than two minute songs you will encounter a gazillion influences and original ideas packed in together so tightly you might mistake them for a twinkie addicted prostitute stuffed into a dress several sizes too small.

The most creative ways of writing a song are EKLUNDH's specialty. On 'Print This' the entire tune is written around a printing machine which serves as the main instrument. On 'Insert Coin' it is the video game that dictates which notes are placed where. There are two excellent covers as well. An all instrumental version (mostly instrumental album) of 'Smoke On The Water' is' well, smokin! Enough to light that lake on fire under its own power. The guitars take the place of the vocals and probably the best cover of the track i've ever heard. Likewise, the cover of Django Rheinhardt's 'Minor Swing' is not only true to the original but off the charts in creative embellishments. Also is a brilliant cover of the 'Fletch' theme that is one of the rare examples of virtuoso guitar abilities mixing with a catchy groove that could get your booty in action on the dance floor.

This album packs in so much creative energy it should be prohibited by law! I have been listening to this album for over ten years now and it still blows me away on every listen. It stands out from absolutely anything else that has ever been recorded and blends the most extreme technicalities without removing the ferocious fun that music is supposed to evoke, at least in my book! This is a true masterpiece of epic proportions and although it has been known in the guitar nerd world for a decade, it is so ridiculously accessible and catchy that even my totally non-musical friends really dig this one. I could go on and on and on with this one but you really must just listen to some tracks and decide for yourself. EKLUNDH is a musical genius who graciously spends more time as a guitar teacher doing workshops than releasing albums like this, which i selfishly say waaaah!

Favorite tracks: The Road Less Traveled, There's No Money In Jazz, Print This!, Caffeine, Fletch Theme, Chopstick Boogie, Smoke On The Water, Insert Coin, Minor Swing, One-String Improv, Asteroid 3834 and the rest :)

 Freak Guitar by EKLUNDH, MATTIAS IA album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.39 | 8 ratings

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Freak Guitar
Mattias IA Eklundh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH is a well known guitarist in the inner circles of guitar nerds but hasn't really quite caught on elsewhere and that's a shame because he is so much more than showing off his freakish guitar playing skills. His major influences were Frank Zappa and Ace Frehley of Kiss, so that right there should give an indication of how he loves to mix and meld and since he began music when he was a mere 6 years old, it's no wonder he has become such the accomplished musician that he has. Being from Sweden, MATTIAS has been involved in many musical acts over the years including his first Frozen Eyes to other Swedish bands such as Evergrey and Soilwork. He started his own progressive rock band Freak Kitchen in 1992. That band has released eight albums at the time of this review, but it is his solo albums under the FREAK GUITAR moniker that really get my musical saliva flowing.

Not counting his "real" first solo album under the name Mr. Libido which contained no guitar at all but merely introduced the world EKLUNDH's idiosyncrasies of combining the traditional with the un-, that album was ok but not outstanding, FREAK GUITAR, his first guitar oriented solo album is another case. Although upon first listen i was a tad underwhelmed expecting some bizarre futuristic weirdness of epic proportions, i let go of that but have nonetheless grown very fond of this album over the thirteen years since i first became acquainted with it. Although this is a one-man show, EKLUNDH dedicates extreme scrutiny over every single detail involved here, showing how one man can create a near masterpiece in a bathroom of his parent's house with the most rudimentary of recording equipment. The passion on this one is with a capital P.

The sounds on this one range from the more typical one of the opener "Apparatus" with a hyper-metal attitude with jazz overtones and plenty of eccentric liberties to "Detroit Rock City" which is a Kiss cover only in a Django Rheinhardt gypsy jazz style. The liner notes are meticulous explaining the inspiration behind each track which makes this review easier since there is no guessing involved in the process. Although there are 22 tracks overall, i never get bored with this one. I only ever skip over the intermission piece "Time To Breathe" track which was created to serve as a nice smooth and slow number in order to take a break from the otherwise sometimes frenetic nature of the album. I don't mind a track like this but it is too long and i really don't find this album to be over frenetic in the least bit. In fact i would classify it as a perfect compromise between extreme metal and pop sensibilities albeit in totally original and unforeseen ways.

This album is filled with yumminess. Versions of "La Bamba" and "Detroit Rock City" are divine. There are unapologetic metal rockers a la "Lisa's Passion For Heavy Metal" (Dedicated to a Freak Kitchen track) and "Evil Shower" to weird numbers like "(Friday Afternoon) In A Galaxy Far Away" which is a musical interpretation of a traffic jam (originally titled "A Momentary Extra-Terrestrial Brouhaha On The Corner Of Zfwwapfftz-Street and Pzzfffttt-Street on the relatively Unknown Planet Apple Horn In The Hejsan Svejsan Galaxy." It was supposed to be the single! There are also Swedish folk-metal songs, jazz inspired rock accompanying a narration about "Dr Pangloss Goes To Lisbon" and folky vocal tracks about riding the workplace exercise wheel in "Squirrel." The lyrics, the music and the content in general are brilliant.

Although i really love this album as a whole i do have a few faves of the bunch: "Numb," "The Satanic Moonwalk," "Cornholed," "Evil Shower," "When Sam Played It Again." An absolutely brilliant album that only gets better with time despite loving it upon first listen. OMG! Not only a musician's wet dream but this is crossover enough to really appeal to anybody who has a fetish in the progressive realm of harder edged music. I forgot to mention the more known facts. Steve Vai was so impressed with his musical abilities that he signed him to his Favored Nations label. Enough said. 4.5 rounded WAY up :P

 Freak Guitar by EKLUNDH, MATTIAS IA album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.39 | 8 ratings

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Freak Guitar
Mattias IA Eklundh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Ovidiu

4 stars It was the time that MATTIAS I'A EKLUNDH in 1999,sould take a little break with his band FREAK KITCHEN and to do a solo album full of all his frenzy and crazy guitaristic ideas,because he is a monster of technique and has an unique style,that blow away even maestro STEVE VAI himself,which proudly signed the mad Swede to FAVORED NATIONS!Vai went personally to Sweden and got his signature after he listened the demo tapes of the album,he was fascinated by such crazy ideas-definitelly something totally innovative and fresh! A little madness like RON THAL-aka BUMBLEFOOT , sometimes DWEEZIL ZAPPA clues too, ,a rabid and frenzy speed and an unique guitar tone!Musically speaking,it's 200 % influenced by ZAPPA and that's why STEVE VAI got a crush for this incredible talented musician!Simple and short songs,a programmed drum machine and all the guitaristic ingredients and samples,sounds are in the hand of MATTIAS,which is stunning!This album is 100 % the fruit of one single man...and that's amazing!TIME TO BREATH with it's more than 10 minutes timing is an untypically EKLUNDH sound with it's cool and calm atmosphere,it's relaxed and quiet,but after that a new avalanche will start!Just take a look at the titles of the tracks and you'll realise the big guitaristic and compositional torment that is in the head of the author!Really crazy and very,very innovative!Prepare to discover a new guitaristic technique,a personal sound effect and crazy,crazy,crazy rhythms!It sounds like cartoons sometimes,we have the feeling of a crazy pursuite,a musical Buggs Bunny of crazyness ,varied rhythms and changing tempos that give the listener the feeling of an acrobatic guitaristic extravaganza! Impossible to choose a particular song,a representative one,all are at the same level,a high one-technically speaking!EKLUNDH became worldwide known after this experience .he made also a brilliant album with monster bass JONAS HELLBORG and came recenly back with a new product of his band FREAK KITCHEN! 4.5 STARS for a new milestone in instrumental guitar focused albums!
 Freak Guitar - The Road Less Travelled by EKLUNDH, MATTIAS IA album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.30 | 9 ratings

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Freak Guitar - The Road Less Travelled
Mattias IA Eklundh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Name says it all

Sub-genre: Extreme/Technical Metal (loose fit)
For Fans of: Steve Vai, Zappa, Spastic Ink, New and unusual ways to abuse a guitar
Vocal Style: Instrumental except one song
Guitar Style: Primarily very warm Hard Rock to Metal tube distortion. Clean breaks with no effects beyond wah pedal. Eklundh uses tons of whammy and slides in conjunction with harmonics for solos. He also does some rather unique percussive things with his guitar.
Keyboard Style: Few and far between, 80's mono sound used in Fletch theme cover and occasional bass.
Percussion Style: Straight forward rock set, occasional programming, guitar beating, and..beatboxing (mouth drumming)
Bass Style: Picked, occasional synthed
Other Instruments: Horns in one song, Epson Printer, "Gorf" video game, weather, crowd noise

Summary: Guitarists, especially those considered metal guitarists have been doing solo album ad nauseum for years. Very few set themselves apart, the usual is to span 40-45 minutes with 9 or 10 songs of very basic verse chorus verse chorus bridge/solo verse chorus structure. Mattias IA Eklundh is not one of those guys. 23 pieces in nearly one hour of music. Here and there we hear the familiar structure, but Eklundh strays from the conventional early and often. Even the seemingly simple becomes exciting. Everything in life is musical to him. Even the tedious start up sequence of a desktop printer has a rhythm that fits Mr. Eklundh's twisted designs. He keeps few secrets either. The liner notes explain in detail the method and madness to each of his compositions on "The Road Less traveled". Odes to other musicians, family, video games and perhaps the must technically insane cover of "Smoke on the Water" grace the album. The motif is usually light hearted and comical with occasional spurts of seriousness. There seems to be considerable effort to maintain flow and not let his technical genius become overbearing.

Final Score: Brilliant work, a worthy addition to any progressive collection. Short of being a masterpiece though, 4 stars.

Thanks to AtLossForWords for the artist addition.

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