Niklas Ahman Generator (mp3.com DAM CD, 2001) Niklas Ahman, a composer and guitarist from Sweden, provides nine tracks of guitar-centered, ethereal instrumentals on Generator. Ahman has five years of music scoring for film and commercials in Sweden under his belt, along with other projects for his experimental and free form contemporary songwriting.
Generator ranges widely in style, from the crunchy prog feel of the title track to the Spanish guitar of "Rental Car" and the Allan Holdsworth style fusion leads in "Irascible." "Catwalk" mixes acoustic guitar and Latin flavored percussion. Ahman blends these styles well, with drum and percussion guest performances on several tracks providing the only other live musicians on the record.
Ahman plays electric, acoustic, and synth guitars, along with voices and sounds. The crisp guitar work moves with clean skill on both electric and acoustic guitars. The ambient passages ring with intriguing textures and subtle noises, including voice used as a noise or an instrument rather than singing any lyrics. Generator sounds impeccable, with all instruments and layered synth chiming through clear and bright.
The major weakness in Generator is a lack of depth in the music that comes both from some of the synth programming and from the songwriting. Plain drum and bass programming over much of the record leaves the music feeling sluggish, without much spark of interaction between the parts or musicians. The live drums and percussion on about half of the tracks help, but the programming leaves the bass guitar sounding flat within uninspired lines, before breaking out with some flair toward the end of the record in "Catwalk" and "Timebomb." The songwriting favors ethereal and ambient passages overlaid with long guitar solos, without many elements in the writing to engage the listener. "Nina," in particular, rolls on over 12 minutes even though most of the song is one big classical guitar solo over synths that slowly build a swell over 10 minutes. Ahman uses melodic and sonic ideas to keep his solos as interesting as he can, but they cannot drive the music alone.
Generator makes an enjoyable backdrop without drawing focus to itself, but it doesn't ensnare or captivate the listener and make them want to experience the music repeatedly. Generator shows a strong cinematic or soundtrack influence, which leaves it more ambient than most rock or fusion. Reviewed by Scott Andrews [email@example.com] More Info:
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