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Tomas Bodin - Pinup Guru CD (album) cover

PINUP GURU

Tomas Bodin

 

Symphonic Prog

3.44 | 81 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Not since the halcyon days of early 70s have I flipped out over a keyboard soloist album as hard as this "Pinup Guru". Since Rick Wakeman's debut masterpiece "the 6 Wives of Henry VIII", I have had a real hard time recently finding anything tasty when in a k / b/ drs format! Seemingly the danger is always eerily repeated: "look how good I can play" while the rhythm section keeps time in the background: YUCK! But when an album starts off with some church organ and is aided and abetted by arguably both the finest prog bassist on the planet and the most versatile drummer anywhere, then you know that this is going to be ivory heaven! Tomas Bodin has consistently managed throughout his career both live and in studio with the Flower Kings to provide a contrasting humor and wit to counter the rather studious and serious Roine Stolt work ethic. Certainly way more playful and chirpy then most soloists as he flips from one keyboard array to another, displaying a highly original technique on the synthesizer (incorporating hints from superb sound benders as Manfred Mann, Patrick Moraz & Jan Hammer, instead of winking the usual prog culprits), extremely adept on Hammond organ, and both classical and electric piano. But what sets Bodin apart is his tremendous propensity for creative sampling, infusing weird sounds, effects, loops and tones that owe more to Eno, Richard Barbieri and Larry Fast! This album simply buzzes from start to end, blasted by the scintillating bass patterns from the masterful Jonas Reingold (go through listening just to his playing and you will see the light) and slammed by the exhilarating Hungarian drummer Zoltan Cs÷rsz, a jazz-punk-rock "percussor" of the highest caliber. The longer tracks such as "What's Going On", "Me & Liz" and "the Final Swig" give the three lads lots of room to explore, exploit and explode with utter creativity, searching out new sonic landscapes to seed and plow mercilessly. The sheer palette of sampled and orchestrated details give this enough depth to go and search out at times funky, at other times jazzy domains but remaining within the symphonic exploratory prog they are all so famous for. The hyper New York groove of "Harlem Heat" is playful, weird and busy, with some spirited playing from the trio, hilarious snippets not withstanding. The material is mostly upbeat, pro-active, instrumental escapades that occasionally veer into effect-heavy territory: the short "My Beautiful Neighbour" and the raunchy yet cool" New in the Hood" replete with some Latino-Arab accordion-flute patches that are pure ethnic FUN! and a rolling fretless bopping solo that would make Jaco Pastorius blush with envy, grooving along with some fine jazzy e-piano meanderings. "Blood" injects some spacier themes, the patented whistling "spaghetti western" synthesizer flights that Bodin is famous for, layers of various atmospherics, background muted choir, thunder and lightning, very very frightening. Having been also a music director for a traveling theater troupe explains the barroom melodrama of "The Ballerina is not getting closer", a soundtrack for a Chaplin routine. "The Last Eagle" features some more hysteric synth work with mountains of effect mellotron and dazzling rhythmic work from Jonas and Zoltan, organ and piano flourishes that sends shivers down the spine. The finale "The Final Swig" is an enticing recap, with swirling, weaving and twirling rhythms again led by the monstrously reptilian fretless basso profundo, 11 minutes of breathtaking instrumental prowess that shreds, drills and slams with abandon and morphs halfway into a gentle orchestral landing. Brilliant music. Knowing Tomas, he probably was impishly amused while making this recording; such is the impression permeating this opus. "Ya like keyboards, ya gotta getta this swedish meatball". As of 2008, best Bodin album, by far for me. 5 betty grable sitars
tszirmay | 5/5 |

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