MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH

Progressive Metal / Non-Metal • Sweden
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Mattias "IA" Eklundh is the lead guitar player of Swedish power trio Freak Kitchen. He has received much attention from the guitar community for his skilled and highly unconventional style of guitar playing. His music is very distinct, as it is both complicated and playful at the same time.

Outside of Freak Kitchen, Eklundh has recorded several solo albums, and made appearances as a guest musician for Swedish heavy metal bands like Evergrey and Soilwork. His two "Freak Guitar" solo albums were released on Steve Vai's Favored Nations label, and include drawings and other artwork from friend Anders Nyberg. In 2005, he grouped with Swedish bass guitarist and composer Jonas Hellborg in the Jonas Hellborg Trio along with drummer Jeff Sipe and played their first gig in Mumbai, India, and followed with a tour of India.
Thanks to rushfan4, Bosh66 for the updates

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MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Discography

MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH albums / top albums

MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Sensually Primitive album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sensually Primitive
Non-Metal 1997
MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Freak Guitar album cover 4.33 | 2 ratings
Freak Guitar
Progressive Metal 1999
MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Freak Guitar: The Road Less Traveled album cover 4.83 | 2 ratings
Freak Guitar: The Road Less Traveled
Progressive Metal 2004
MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Freak Guitar - The Smorgasbord album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Freak Guitar - The Smorgasbord
Progressive Metal 2013

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MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Reviews

MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Freak Guitar - The Smorgasbord

Album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
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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 shit 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 shit 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.

MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Freak Guitar: The Road Less Traveled

Album · 2004 · Progressive Metal
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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 :)

MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Freak Guitar

Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal
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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.

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