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Tuominen; Jartse: Untold Stories

Untold Stories is the fifth release from Finnish guitarist Jartse Tuominen, although with the talented fretsmith having spent much of his time in the US in recent years, the ten songs contained on his latest work feature a variety of top notch musicians from both countries. The results are equally varied, a host of attacks from across jazz, rock, blues and even some shred lite being danced through via the sublime musicianship. For fans of virtuosic playing, hearing the heartfelt "Untold" is a must, while "Nine Lives" adds an electronic prog edge that grabs the ear in a playful, yet sensitive manner.

However, the trouble with Untold Stories is that some of its tales simply don't hold the attention, sublime touch and tone no substitute for a memorable hook or energetic burst. Too often the unquestionably impressive guitar licks are used not just to embellish the instrumental tracks, but to carry them along when nothing much else is happening. "Trouble Shuffle" is a prime example of where the song feels secondary to the idea and execution, not one of the notes out of place, every beat struck to perfection. However the blues are about feel and emotion and while it's not my place to suggest Tuominen hasn't invested much in the way of blood, sweat and tears to Untold Stories (I'm 100% sure he has) too often those efforts simply aren't conveyed, the feel that you're listening to the most advanced of guitar technique manuals hard to avoid. Something that's also in evidence when you sample the darting, yet simple "Simppa Goes To Töysä", where the gentle sounds that carry much of the song are ushered out the way to make room for another guitar blast that isn't sympathetic enough to its surrounds. The piano breakdown that comes after is beautiful and the poised guitar solos that follow really are quite magnificent, but where things fall down is that the journey between these pieces simply doesn't feel connected to the all out musical attacks that punctuate it.

I can only tip my hat to the talent that's gone into creating Untold Stories and again, heartily recommend guitar aficionados experience the touch and tone of Jartse Tuominen. Whether that's enough to keep you thoroughly engrossed will depend on how much importance you place on guitar skills and how much you see the compositions themselves as the key to what makes an album tick. Unfortunately, for me, the two don't balance out enough here to draw me back for more.

Track Listing
1. Extraordinary
2. Hybrid Fusion
3. Mesa
4. Time to Go
5. Simppa Goes to Töysä
6. Trouble Shuffle
7. Untold
8. Nine Lives
9. Yeah Right
10. Farewell

Added: August 20th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Jartse Tuominen Facebook page
Hits: 1514
Language: english

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