Although Peter Matuchniak is known for his solo releases, as well as being in bands such as Mach One, Gekko Projekt, Bomber Goggles, and many others, he is also an in-demand session guitarist. This album sees him revisit songs he originally recorded for five different musicians, Marco Ragni, Hamlet Tinae. Shawn Gordon, Steve Bonino, and Simon Strevens, and re-interpret them. This may mean the song has been rearranged, or it may be an earlier draft of what finally appeared on the album itself. Details are also provided as to who played on what track, as well as which albums the songs are taken from. Given his long relationship with Marco Ragni, it is of no surprise that of the 21 songs on offer, 14 were originally on work undertaken for that artist: there is just 1 from Strevens, and 2 each from the others.
Given that the artists are very different in their approach, it is not surprising to discover many different styles at play during the course of the album, which is mostly instrumental with only a few containing vocals. Peter has an incredibly fluid style, and his leads are always in keeping with the music at hand, much more than providing a million notes to the bar. Although there are times when he shows he can be strident with staccato chords and breaks, his most common approach is to provide strong melodic counterparts which emphasise the music and song itself as opposed to “See how clever I am”. The guitarist which has had most impact on Peter’s playing is probably Steve Hackett but given how diverse that particularly musician is in his own playing that is a wide palette. Peter also has the innate melodic understanding and style of both Gilmour and Latimer, while his phrasing is also reminiscent of Gary Chandler at times.
Put it all together and here is a guitarist who adds to the music of whatever performer he is working with, not taking over but always becoming an essential part of the sound while rarely dominating. I must confess to having not previously heard all of the songs on offer but do have many of the albums from which they have been taken. Hearing the songs in this format has inspired me to dust off the likes of Psychic For Radio (Shawn Gordon)’s album from 2012, while I need to check out more of Marco’s material, and one can never hear too much Steve Bonino. This is a great introduction not only to the wonderful melodic guitar work of Peter Matuchniak but also to the albums from whence they originally came. Incredibly diverse, always enjoyable, with Peter being the link between them all, this is a wonderful way to discover his music.
Kev Rowland | 8/10