Saturday, 18 April 2015

Mattias IA Eklundh: Interview - BendNote - part 1

The inimitable Mattias "IA" Eklundh of Freak Kitchen group gives us an exclusive interview in two parts.
Find all our interviews BendNote partner is the only online music school physical music school: The Music Academy International of Nancy, school number 1 training to contemporary music in France. You guarantee, whatever your level, the best teachers and artists who have developed the best tools for you to progress at your own pace. Register for free and test our online music lessons by clicking this link:
Mattias IA Eklundh Interview - BendNote - part 1

Joe Chawki: Nazar - review of the exciting guitar packed album and interview.

Joe Chawki lives in New Jersey on the East coast of USA. New Jersey has the highest population density in the U.S. An average 1,030 people per square miles, which is 13 times the national average of USA. New Jersey has the highest percent urban population in the U.S. with about 90% of the people living in an urban area. New Jersey is the only state where all its counties are classified as metropolitan areas.

Joe Chawki has taken all this metropolitan urban pressure, mixed it up, consumed it, reconstituted it, reassembled it and poured the concoction into a heady, exotic fusion cocktail. Stamped out , extruded the eclectic music squeezed under great pressure, to form probably one of the most diverse and eclectic rock fusion albums of our time, cascading guitar cadenzas, liberally permeated by swirling exotic electronica.

Joe Chawki says he is influenced by a lot of eastern music. The album title Nazar is both a cultural and superstitious symbol, the lucky blue eye is well known in the Middle East, Turkey, Balkans, and parts of Eastern Europe.  The philosophy, the ethnics, the tonality, boiling sounds and compositional ideas are reflected in this eclectic release.

Here's a reminder of Joe't technical capability on the recent Waves of Shred competition

Waves of Shred Improv Take 2

So what do I mean by eclectic? Well study the definition: wide-ranging, broad-ranging, broad-based, extensive, comprehensive, universal, varied, diverse, diversified,cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, all-embracing, non-exclusive, inclusive, indiscriminate, many-sided, multifaceted, multifarious, heterogeneous, miscellaneous... for the music has no single genre, embracing as it does lives and sights and sounds from across the globe in an eagerly enthusiastic, encyclopaedic, solipsist soliloquy.

The album opener is Anything Memphis, a classy affair brimming with super classy soloing in Joe's own unique left handed "how does he play that" style. I thought it might be a paean to the late great Shawn Lane, a guitar player that Joe is often compared too and a player who Joe reveres . But there are no Shawn Laneisms here, it doesn't have that Powers of Ten,  Eric Johnson era Lane, southern feel. No this is altogether more progressive in feel, lyrical, melodic, exotic and with forward-looking musical structures and Hammond organ like tones. The guitar playing through out is superb, and like the rest of the album, I can feel this track growing on me.

The second track, Rush, isn't a reworking of any of the famous Canuuck progressive trio's greatest hits, but instead features an electronica  fuelled synth punching beat and Joes's overtly spacious, as in out of space, soloing. I wasn't sure what to expect from this album and it really does show Joe Chawki's many and diverse worldly experiences are certainly broader than mine. The music as ever is blended with Joe's ultra fine guitar playing and this track is certainly catchy.

Joe Chawki is noted for his passion for cuisine and cooking... so no surprise that one of the tracks is entitled Shashlik. In this case the skewers are threaded with provocative music, and in Joe's composition are slow cooked with a fusion of acoustic hurly burly, hurdy-gurdy, with an aromatic twist of Turkish Medina and roasted Middle Eastern Souk... great acoustic playing / clean guitar work...  Also, no surprise to me to find that New Jersey has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the diner capital of the world.

Quietus, at first glance, is perhaps a more straight ahead raucous rock fusion, until you hear those exotic bends and galloping drum beats. This album is not like anything you normally here in guitar instrumental albums, this is a real amalgam, a blend of speedy exotica and metal alloys and segues of ultra impressive synth and guitar soloing. God help the guitar nerd who decides to tab this piece!

A Drift In Time is the first track to feature Hodge Gjonbalaj directly, again the music swirls, blending layers or  electronica with hyper exotic soloing and ultra catchy melodies. There's even more insane guitar and keyboards... even more than you can shake a stick at... leaving one questioning how does one go about writing music and compose other worldly licks like this?

Paradise Now  also features Hodge Gjonbalaj again. The album was recorded with Hodge Gjonbalaj and he's done a great job of catching Chawki in full flight. The track is perhaps one of the the most regular or normal compositions on the album. Great guitar playing from both guitar players is meaty and again some neat synth soloing, but I'm not sure who does the solo work.

Universal Moment, opens with synth sequencers that reminds me of some sort of early Tangerine Dream... that is until that classic Chawki swirling guitar kicks in. You are left in no doubt that this is going to be yet another melodic guitar laden composition, blazing soloing, at light speed, but infused with sequenced, synthesized rhythmic beats. Chordal guitar, clean picking, all great stuff indeed, and increasing in intensity with repeated listening.

Joe Chawki delivers his own take on the classic Oxygène IV (indeed the cover of Nazar has a slight homage to the original Oxygène as seen in the insert).

Oxygène was one of the first electronic instrumental albums to make it big. The music was composed, produced, and performed by the French composer Jean Michel Jarre. It was self released in France in December 1976. Jarre eventually found a publisher, Francis Dreyfus. Dreyfus was initially sceptical about electronic music, he gambled by pressing a run of 50,000 copies. The album went on to sell 15 million copies... in the case of this track Joe adds his own blend of soloing as an accompaniment and great stuff it is too.

Perhaps my favourite track on the album is Sam... more great soloing, and more catchy melody... but I'll let the music do the talking... listen for yourself!

The first tin-foil phonograph developed by Thomas Edison was made In New Jersey... it was crude, but it proved that sound could be recorded and played back. Thomas Edison had phonograph demonstrations and became world-renowned as the "Wizard of Menlo Park" for this invention. Indeed, my life would not be the same without the ability to listen to copious amounts of music.

Music as a medium has come along way since those early days in New Jersey, but it is now, more than ever, that independent free thinking musical artists needs our support... so I ask you to join with me and as I heartily recommend this album... all you need to do is the right thing and grab yourself a copy... I'm sure you won't regret it... New Jersey's state motto is "'Liberty and Prosperity"... Joe brings plenty of musical "Liberty" so let's hope this album, with your support, brings plenty of "Prosperity."...

Joe Chawki: Nazar

I asked Joe Chawki to talk about his labour of love and this is what he had to say:

How long did it take you to record the album?

It was done over a period of a few years with some long breaks in between. Some takes are from years back and some from very recently. All of the ideas were things I had in mind for quite some time.

How did you know when you had done enough to complete the album?

Well, there is always the inclination to add or change things, but after a certain point for the sake of practicality one must impose some sort of deadline.

How do you know when a track is finished?

In terms of composition, I might listen to a tune repeatedly and see what it's needs are or what might be missing. The more I fill in those gaps the more satisfied I am.

How do you decide what is going into a track and how do you name it?

Usually a framework or core of some kind is in place, but I also like to leave plenty of room for improvisation and spontaneity. As for naming tracks, there is always some personal connection.

What equipment did you use in the studio?

All of the tracks were recorded at Hodge Gjonbalaj's studio on his equipment. I use a Suhr modern satin.

How did you record the drums for the album?

For many of the songs I might have had a drum idea in mind and I would simply speak it out or tap it out and Hodge would enter it in. In other cases he wrote the drum parts. All of it was done digitally

Do you approach an album as though it is you Meister work or just a stepping stone to the next album?

Well considering this was a culmination of years worth of ideas, and my first release, it was a landmark event. However I am restless creatively and once something is finished, I don't like to look back. The only way to progress is look forward, and I'm certainly looking forward to more creative projects on the way.

When the album is completed how do you feel about that moment?

Mixed emotions for sure. Happiness the work is completed. But there is a letting go that must happen. And certainly by the end you are anxious to wrap up.

Did you have a budget for the album? 

I ran an indiegogo campaign a little over a year ago which helped. But it was certainly tough to fund this endeavor. We had hoped to include other live musicians /guest soloists but the budget did not allow so we opted to do everything ourselves.

How did you go about your promotion strategy?

So far I am relying on the small niche community and word of mouth. I am relatively active on Facebook and YouTube.

How did you decide what the album title and design would be?

The NAZAR symbol is something I felt to be quite fitting. It is an eastern symbol to ward off the jealous or evil eye. Hodge did the artwork as well. I told him to take the traditional NAZAR image, and have fun with it. Psychedelize it.

What were your musical influences on this album?

I have a wide range of musical interests. My favorite guitarists are Shawn Lane, John McLaughlin, and Allan Holdsworth. But I also listen to a lot of electronica and world music, particularly eastern music of various sorts. I think all of that and then some comes through on this release.

Important links

Joe McGurk: Rehearsal Fire The Pain and Beauty

From Joe McGurk's album "Elements" out April 17 on Lion Music

Joe McGurk Rehearsal Fire The Pain and Beauty

Alessandro Giglioli: Fred - live guitar solo

Fred (by Allan Holdsworth) played by Get FUZZY!
A.Giglioli, guitar - M.Barsanti, drums - JP Occhiato, bass
Live @ Toscanina - Poggibonsi (SI), 15/03/2015

A.Giglioli - Fred (live guitar solo)

Isao Fujita: Makai Wars - 8 finger guitar from Japan

Music planning of Makai girl fist and "series that tried to play."
Makai girl fist a show "Evil has been held every month as Makai guitarist was playing the Makai Wars ISAO who is the Sakaine闘会"performers.
And enjoy the sound that manipulate the 8-string there! twitter @ ISAO Https://Twitter.Com/isao1229 Makai girl fist

Makai girl fist 8-string guitarist ISAO Mr. "Makai Wars" has tried playing PART1

Damian Salazar, Lucas Alvarez: The Legend of Fairy and the Wizard - who wouldn't want to see these guys busking near them!


Cover Guitar Duo - The Legend of Fairy and the Wizard - Damian Salazar and Lucas Alvarez