Felix Martin is in many ways an anomaly. One of the only guitarists to truly make it past the era of nerdy prog guitarists with his dignity and music intact he has never failed to impress with his unique tapping style and powerful compositions. This latest offering, Mechanical Nations is a tribute to all that made us fall in love with Mr. Martin and his many stringed guitars (14 and 16 strings are heard on this record!) a few years ago and proof that instrumental progressive music can still remain exciting. When it comes down to it, there are few guitarists who can enthrall me for fifteen tracks, but Felix Martin pulls it off with aplomb.
A huge part of the appeal of Mechanical Nations is that Felix Martin is not trying to impress us with his sheer skill anymore. I mean sure he's clearly one of the best guitarists in the world, but he knows that and he knows that we know that, so while there maybe a few moments of flash as a general rule the music on Mechanical Nations is a bit more focused on creating massive soundworlds and crafting what can feel like tone poems. His clean tones are delicious and the sheer chunkiness of his hammered on chords give you something to really sink your teeth into - dense enough to dazzle but never so opaque as to alienate the dedicated listener.
Sure this isn't for everyone and there is a certain level of cerebral dorkery required to really pick apart some of these songs but I feel like Felix Martin is moving in an exciting new direction. He really embraces his jazzy size on Mechanical Nations and really pushes his unique playing style and compositions to the limit, at times making the guitar sound like a piano and at others invoking disturbingly dark tones. It's easy to get lost in all that is going on here, but Mr. Martin lets everything ring out so you find yourself basking in the shuffle.
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