It’s hard to sit and write this review because this album is so damn GROOVY! As I’ve stated before on Hollywood Metal, Mika Tyyskä is my favorite guitarist. He’s been so ever since I discovered “The Sensei” around the time Hollywood Metal was getting started in 2007. I’ve wasted incredible amounts of time at work playing with the interactive games/lessons led by the guitar-sensei, Mr. Fastfinger, on the band website which doubles as a learning experience. Mika is the man behind the character and his guitar playing ability is second to none.
For everyone who’s familiar with his playing, this was a much anticipated follow up to 2009’s Way of the Exploding Guitar. In Motion is released by Mika’s Eletrik Pyjamas label. Here’s where to find it.
Where to start… Well, first of all, clear your schedule. Once you push play the only thing you’ll be able to do for the next 59 minutes is feel the groove! For me that means involuntary head and feet movement plus copious amounts of air-instrumentation.
The first track of any release is the most important. It’s the bait, the thing that gets the listener on hook for the rest of the album. If you put something truly spectacular up front it pulls the audience in for the whole musical experience. With “Unravel” Mr. Fastfinger has done exactly that. This song is a rockin’ masterpiece that sets the rhythmic and melodic flavor of the album. It pretty much lets you know what you’re in store for… groovy rhythms, incredible and technically clean guitar work, experimental sounds, and tones that make you want to throw your pre-amp out the window.
Now I had a half a mind to do a track by track review of this thing but there’s some things at the end of this that I want to give voice to–so in the interest of keeping this review digestible–I’m just going to point out a couple of my favorite tracks. “Motion Beat” is interesting to me because it’s one of Mr Fastfinger’s (only?) non pure-instrumental tracks. It incorporates the throaty vocals and wisdom of the sensei before it explodes into a world class guitar and bass solo. Following “Ripple Travel” a slower, melancholic piece, that holds particular attraction for me (more on that in a bit), the album begins to build again with the groovy uptempo tracks “Beach Turtles” and “Mountain Mover”. “Breathe” and “Little Wind” calm the pace down again which has the effect of keeping the album under control musically. It’s not a technical show-off release like so many virtuoso albums are. In my opinion, the album hits an apex with the third and second to last songs “Daemons & Ghouls” and “Thunderpantz” before it’s emotional outro “Home Is Where The Heart Is”. “Thunderpantz” is particularly awesome. I really can’t describe it, words always seem to fail when you’re describing music you really love. The 80s-style guitar tones (you know that motor-y riffage) mixed with the well placed sythns just creates a really uplifting melody.
Now lastly, the thing I wanted to make sure I hit on. As a nearly-five-year fan of Mika’s work I can tell you that there’s nobody who appreciates that more than Mika himself. The guy goes way out of his way to connect with fans online and by mail. It was without hesitation that I jumped on the idea of “buying licks” off this album while it was in production. For $45 USD (35 Euro) fans were given an opportunity to help further offset the costs of making such a well produced album by purchasing one of the album’s many tasty guitar licks. And, in doing so, place a pre-sale order. In exchange, Mika personally signed the album, included the fans name on the album credits, made hand-written guitar tabs of the lick purchased and wrote a nice word of encouragement to those (like myself) who would then try to learn their lick. Mine is a tasty arpeggio run in the opening moments of “Ripple Travel”–perfect! A guitar pick board game, artwork stickers, and a Mr Fastfinger logo pick were also included in the package and I must say, the creativeness of it all is outshone only by that that of the music on this album.
Album: In Motion
Released: March 30th, 2012
Label: Electrik Pyjamas
Score: 9/9 Hammers