Mattias IA Eklundh

Freak Guitar: The Road Less Traveled

Playing guitar is, and should always be, fun. And although Swedish shredder Mattias IA Eklundh (IA is his nickname—I think it’s a Swedish thing) is a scary player whose chops and musicality are deadly serious, the dude is a first rate nut. Among his new album’s 23 tunes are whacked-out versions of “Smoke on the Water,” “Minor Swing,” and—one of my personal anthems—the theme from Fletch. With insane polyrhythms, exotic tonalities skittering by at break-neck speed, and aforementioned silliness, the scepter of one Frank Zappa looms large. And, at times, Eklundh sounds a bit like one of FZ’s former employees (back when said employees’ music had a sense of humor). In the end, however, Eklundh’s music stands up just fine on its own. Favored Nations.
-Darrin Fox