Pushing Boundaries With Fourteen Copper-Wound Strings
Felix Martin’s Mechanical Nations is a mish mosh of quick chords exuding from his fourteen string guitar. The album fluctuates between slap-style riffs among a seemingly lengthy fifteen-track escapade. As a whole, Martin continues to push the boundaries of what is possible. His megalithic instrument works tirelessly to compose an album of plethoric reverberation. Although the unique style presented in Mechanical Nations is one which appears in need of some direction, it provides a profound insight into the musician’s commitment to progressive expression. Only when Martin slows down does it feel that the real power of his constructed instrument presents itself.
Much like a viewing of the Broadway show STOMP, Mechanical Nations mixes together eclectic grooves which feel as if they’ve been pulled right out of a pile of rubble. This is by no means intended to be a knock towards the Venezuelan’s sixth album, but only to suggest that the place in which Martin constructs his metallic sound is one that exudes percussion rather than rhythmic guitar. And while at times the album seems tumultuous and spotty, it manages to paint an elegant picture of real experimental artistry.
Alongside drummer Victor Alvarez and bassist Kilian Duarte, Martin’s progressive sound is enhanced, as the trio play off of one another fiercely. They come together dramatically through each track and strike each note strongly, thus creating the album’s unique fusion of instrumentals. In addition to traveling from the fray of SXSW to festivals throughout Europe and South America, Felix Martin and his counterparts have produced a string of successful live albums. Currently, the trio are gearing up to embark on another tour and continue to their road success. They are scheduled to play in Pittsburgh at James Street on the eighth of March.
In the end, Martin’s Mechanical Nations is truly an exploration in sound, pushing the boundaries of what a guitar should sound like while maintaining adherent to cultural roots. While there are no lyrics, the album does fulfill in its quest to produce a distinct yet worldly sound. Ultimately, Martin has constructed a piece worthy of its own category — maybe not jazz, rock or even metal, but most certainly progressive.