With so much of social media’s guitar virtuosity concentrated on hot-as-hell shredding, Mateus Asato is like a cool drink of water on a summer day.
Sure, what he does with the instrument is technically virtuosic. He can take a track by a pop group like the Beatles and reinterpret it for solo guitar in a way that somehow, magically, amplifies the original work’s melody like never before.
But it is his gift for combining technicality within an approachable neo-soul sound that gives his music its organic vibrancy, something that had led artists like Bruno Mars to secure his services.
Asato is both book-smart and street-smart. He studied at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles in 2013, where he got a firm grip of the fundamentals. But he understood the power of social media, and how to use it to document his progress as a player and artist.
In a sense, this makes him the quintessential 21st century guitar hero, evolving in real-time, and in full view of the audience.
What they’ll see and hear is a dynamic player whose all-around game makes him just as comfortable with fingerstyle and hybrid picking as he is switching between alternate and economy picking, and a sensibility that teeters between the restrained and the spectacular.
Boutique tones and hot musical tube drive spiced with the three-dimensional depth of reverb and delay are all hallmarks of Asato’s sound.
Once upon a time, his lodestar was shred – the big dogs, Petrucci, et al. But in September 2022, he named Slash, John Mayer and Steve Vai as three guitarists who he considers to be guitar’s latter-day champions.
“These are the last heroes imo,” he wrote on Instagram. “Make sure to go and watch these ones LIVE!”
Asato is that rare thing these days, a player whose sound evades easy categorization. He is stylistically omnivorous, but with a taste for the finer things.
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