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Featured Artists on The Alchemists II album

[Chris Brooks ft. Joe Chawki]   [Pascal Vigne ft. Christophe Godin]   [Terry Syrek ft. Bumblefoot]   [Richard Hallebeek & Antti Kotikoski]   [Carlos Creator ft. Robert Rodrigo]   [William Stravto ft. Brett Garsed]   [Stefan Rosqvist ft. Bo Eriksson]   [Phi Yaan-Zek ft. Chanan Hanspal]   [Milan Polak & Marco Sfogli]   [Dave Martone & Chris Buono]   [Si Hayden ft. Michael Berk]   [Gianluca Ferro ft. Scott McGill]   [Sven Stichter ft. Thorsten Koehne]   [Geoff Tyson ft. Doug Doppler]   [Dr Ika & Temur Kvitelashvili]  

Chris Brooks ft. Joe Chawki     

TA II track: 'Unruly Elements'

Chris Brooks - drums, bass, rhythm guitars, keys, lead guitar
Joe Chawki - lead guitar

'I had an unplanned week-long stay in hospital just before Christmas '05 when the idea for this song presented itself. Whilst recording the basic tracks a few weeks later, Joe Chawki heard that I was looking for a collaborator and sent me some samples of his soloing, which was fiery and well-phrased ... definitely what I needed for this track. We exchanged files online because he's in New York and I'm in Sydney, Australia, yet there is a nice cohesion between our styles that makes it sound like we've jammed together many times. I named the track "Unruly Elements" because of the totally unrestrained nature of the leads. Collaborating was interesting. I'm used to covering all the bases on my own tunes, but in this case as the producer I just had to cross my fingers that Joe would totally rip in those places that I heard in my head - and boy, did he!’

Pascal Vigne ft. Christophe Godin Go to top

TA II track: 'One Legged Chicken'

Pascal Vigné - bass, lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars (except where mentioned), claps and voices
Christophe Godin - lead guitar
Gaël Féret - drums

'’When I was offered the chance to contribute to the Alchemists Vol II CD, I was recording material for my next album and I figured all I had to do was pick up a song and re-structure it to leave room for another guitar player. However, I wound up being unable to choose a track for this particular project; nothing seemed right. So I decided to compose an entire song on the spur of the moment and as I started recording it, I kept hearing a voice in my head: "Christophe Godin! Christophe Godin!" Christophe is an amazing musician and character, completely nuts and gifted. He has humour in everyday life and you can feel it whenever you watch him play. He immediately accepted to play on the song and went crazy on it. The result reflects the atmosphere of that particular moment: we just had fun.'

Terry Syrek ft. Bumblefoot Go to top

TA II Track: 'Threehundredpointtwentyone'

Terry Syrek - guitars
Greg Kalember - drums
Ron Thal (aka Bumblefoot) - 2nd guitar solo

’The idea for the song basically started with that main riff in 7 and kinda moved from there. Pretty soon thereafter, I heard the fast picking unison line with the drums that starts off the tune in my head. Kinda chaotic little thing; anxiety provoking, one might say. I did the track with a drum machine and almost sent it out that way. Now, I really really hate using a drum machine (communication between actual musicians is imperative to me) though my programming chops have come along a bit and I have good samples. Regardless, I was amped when my pal Greg offered to lay down the tracks. He's a badass. Waaay better. Those 32nd note double bass fills still make me laugh. The song is also a reunion of sorts for Ron and I as we've played a bit together in the past. I was really happy to have him throw down his own unique brand of controlled chaos. Really hope someone creates another project where we're thrown together for more than a song, hehe.

’”Threehundredpointtwentyone” was written specifically for TA V2, all the guitar fans out there and all the hot chicks that are totally into guitar geek music in odd time and can't help but dance all night to this stuff... (er, that last part was not for the sarcastically challenged).'

Richard Hallebeek & Antti Kotikoski Go to top

TA II Track: 'Under the Influence'

Richard Hallebeek - guitar synth solo
Antti Kotikoski - guitar solo, programming
Jaan Wessman - bass
Marco Minnemann - drums

’It is definitely an understatement to say that "Under The Influence" has been a long time in the making. Although written back in 1994, it was not until ten years later that the tracks started to materialize as Marco Minnemann recorded his drums for the tune at Suomikerho in Los Angeles. Jaan Wessman tracked his low frequencies at Casa Wessman in Tampere, Finland. After that it still took some international audio file sharing to put the overdubs together.

Carlos Creator ft. Robert Rodrigo Go to top

TA II Track: 'Space Antz'

Carlos Creator - all guitars, bass synth
Robert R. Rodrigo - guitar solo (2:52 - 3:22)
Pepe Bao - slap and two handed bass
Raul Soriano - drums

’"Space Antz" was written at the beginning of 2006. I was trying out different funk-groove guitar riffs, sometimes using a bottleneck and sometimes a wah-wah. The music went through loads of variations until I finally had the completed idea.

’Some of the guitar parts are inspired by the old big-bands, and some of the general atmosphere is influenced by film soundtracks. About the musicians that have collaborated with me: I've known Robert for a long time, since he has been recording his albums in my studio (The Rockstudios). I've always wanted to do something together and this opportunity made it possible. A special surprise for me was Raul Soriano on the drums, a young guy who can really put the groove in it. And of course there's Pepe Bao on the bass, the best Spanish bass player and a good friend of mine. Thanks guys!!! And thanks to Liquid Note Records for making this family happen for the "Space Antz" song.’

William Stravato ft. Brett Garsed Go to top

TA II Track: 'Stratosphere'

William Stravato - guitars
Brett Garsed - guitars
Riccardo Zannelli - keys and computer editing
Daniele Chiantese - drums
Mario Mazzenga - bass

’First of all, thanks to everybody for listening to my music! When I started writing this tune, the first thing I thought was that I wanted people to listen to the two different sides of my style - the melodic and the more aggressive one. In my music I always look for a balance of both sides and I think that “Stratosphere” expresses this balance very well. The first part is an improvised solo over a very melodic chord change in which both Brett and I play very smooth and melodic lines; the second part develops into a much more aggressive chord change which involves a more technical and intense playing style. It’s up to you to decide which one you prefer…! I wanted to have my friend Brett as partner in this project because we've known each other for a long time and I already knew he was the right person to express the idea of the eternal struggle of the human being between good and evil… Hope you’ll have fun listenin’ to it.'

Stefan Roqvist ft. Bo Eriksson Go to top

TA II Track: 'At Last'

Stefan Rosqvist - guitar and slide guitar
Bo Eriksson - guitar, lapsteel and steel guitar
Joakim Attoff - bass
Peter Wildoer - drums

’When I went into the studio to record the drums we still didn’t have a melody for this song. It became our “leftover” song without a melody!

’I tried and I tried, but I couldn’t come up with any good melody lines. Then Bo Eriksson came along to recorded his beautiful steel guitar parts. He gave me a great melodic hook for the song and it turned out really good!

’Thanks to Wendel for the lap steel guitar.’

Phi Yaan-Zek ft. Chanan Hanspal Go to top

TA II Track: 'The Puffball That Ate My Village'

Phi Yaan-Zek - guitars,1st & 3rd guitar solos, keyboards, programming, voice, percussion
Chanan Hanspal -2nd & 4th guitar solos Andy Edwards - drums
Lalle Larsson - piano Trilok G.Rastaflange - bass
Ilhaam Selih - intro voice
and featuring the Puffball Village Chorus: Matty "Madron"Watkins,Michael & Wendy Ellyatt, Dave Gadsby, Vanessa Bandini Gadsby,DJ Christobal "Garrincha"Garner, Nikki Anderson, Diahann Hughes, Gary Compton, David de Silva and Phi.

’I hadn't seen Chanan for 16 years when we finally met up again in the summer of 2006 to record his solos for my Alchemists track. We had in fact gone to the same school in our teens and even took classical guitar lessons together for a while. Then he went off to Australia and I went to Austria and we lost touch until very recently. It was a bizarre chain of synchronous events that led to us connecting again. This culminated in an unexpected last minute stand-in gig that I performed in Brighton in which I discovered that the guitarist in the support act was a former BIMM student of Chanan's.

‘The title comes from an encounter with the biggest mushroom I've ever seen. While staying in the Cotswolds region of the UK, a friend discovered a giant puffball in the field near the house. I had never seen anything like it before - looking like a weird large white pumpkin, but in fact actually an edible mushroom! We thought we'd better eat it before it ate us! And of course I had to write a piece of music about it all...’

Milan Polak & Marco Sfogli Go to top

TA II Track: 'Last Minute Call/The Saviour'

Milan Polak - guitar (right) & bass
Marco Sfogli - guitar (left) & drums

‘Originally, I was supposed to do a song together with another high class guitarist, but due to timing & schedule problems the collaboration had to be blown off at the last minute. For a short time it looked as though this CD would have to be released without my participation but then I decided to give it a shot and contact my friend Marco Sfogli. Marco immediately agreed to record a tune together. So I wrote and recorded a whole song and suggested it to Marco who added a middle part to it - hence the appropriate double title.

’The idea was to record something groove-oriented which leaves space for phrasing and melodic lines, rather than just shred. The song has an open, almost jamming vibe to it and perfectly displays the very distinctive and still extremely well matching styles of both of us’.

Dave Martone & Chris Buono Go to top

TA II Track: 'Fumble Fingers'

Dave Martone - guitar (1st Solo)
Chris Buono - guitar/sonic annihilation (Slap Solo and 2nd Solo)
David Spidel - bass
Gene Hoglan - drums

’Thanks to the world of digital recording, Dave and I are able to make music despite living in two different countries - Canada and the US respectively. After successfully recording some guest solos on a track for Dave's new album that also included solos from Terry Syrek and James Hogan, I looked forward to the opportunity to work with Dave again on "Fumble Fingers". I suggested that we compose a piece that had drastic time feel changes and varying musical environments that allowed us to exploit each others’ unique sounds and approaches. Dave composed and played the main structures of the song including all the chord progressions, the brilliant phaser treated multi-fingered/string skipping tapping lick that makes up the main melody, and the perplexing five over four polyrhythmic section after his blazing solo, which is first. I provided the arrangement, the dropped tuned slap guitar section before Dave's solo, and the lion's share of the sounds including the collage of audio nirvana before my ring mod to whammy pedal induced solo—which is actually over Dave's changes transposed a major third down but twice as fast! An added bonus is the ridiculously precise performance on drums from the legendary Gene Hoglan of Strapping Young Lad. Gene expertly ripped through a track as complicated as this in no time even with an intimidating 170 bpm for those double time sections! Thanks to Dave's final mix I think we made some great music once again and we both hope you think so too. Enjoy!’

Si Hayden ft. Michael Berk Go to top

TA II Track: 'Tango Schizophrenia'

Si Hayden - nylon strung standard tuned 1981 Ivor Mairants R.E.Spain acoustic guitar
Michael Berk - steel strung 'drop D' tuned 'LA Guitars Michael Berk Signature Model.

’Recorded on the 7th June 2006 using sE Z3300a mics into Pro-Tools. Both guitars have such big projection and volume one mic each was perfect to capture them both! The track was written during improvised live solo sets at a small bar in Coventry on summer Saturday afternoons. I asked Michael with regards to collaborating as he's the most dynamically gifted acoustic guitar player I know, plus having played alongside him in the past thought it was a good excuse to get together again! Within an hour of meeting up, we had decided on a track, and Michael worked out a blistering piece to sit alongside it. We then went on to record the track that afternoon!’

Gianluca Ferro ft. Scott McGill Go to top

TA II Track: 'Warp Drive'

Gianluca Ferro - guitars, programming
Mark Vikar - keyboards and noise
Scott McGill - guitars
Eugenio Ventimiglia - drums
Alex del Vecchio - keyboards
Davide Betelli - bass

’This song was born in the summer of 2003 but was incomplete until March 2006, when Phi contacted me for the Alchemists vol. II. I developed the first part, a very tense obligato based on a strong groove, during a period when I was listening to stuff like Tribal Tech. I was attracted by the idea of having the brainy/cerebral mood of the first section change into a more direct and emotional feel in the second section. The last part gets inspiration from some of Rush's stuff but the rhythms are angrier!!! When Phi asked me about a guest guitarist, the name of Scott immediately came to my mind. We've been acquainted for some years: we got in touch thanks to the Time Machine's producer, the distributor in Italy for M.M.S.(Mc Gill, Manring, Stevens). Scott had already performed as a special guest on my solo album and our friendship lead us to work together on this project again. While Scott was recording his solo in New Jersey, Alex was recording his solo in Milan, but when I was about to mix the solos, I realized that they both began with the same phrase! Neither of them had listened to the other one so ... perhaps one of them has made a travel in time using the "warp drive" !!!’

Sven Stichter ft. Thorsten Koehne Go to top

TA II Track: 'In The Beginning'

Thorsten Koehne - lead guitar 2nd verse (1:57 - 2:32) & outro solo (3:50 - 4:21)
Sven Stichter - guitars, programming, drums, loops, bass, synth and strings

‘I could write just so much about this song since it’s a good old friend of mine. In the beginning there was water, nothing was either bad or good, as major and minor starts to alternate, we can see a silver lining on the horizon while distorted melodies of hope surf upon an ocean of digital beats... The verse-theme is trying to stand on its own but is full of questions and self doubt; the chorus-theme shouts “come and follow me stay, strong and hold your head up high”. A dramatic string part tries to pull both down into the underworld but finally they manage to climb out and celebrate their triumph until 4.44. Or maybe it is just a neat little tune that can make you nod your head - that would be really great. Thorsten Köhne, a wonderful player and cool dude played the 2nd verse from 1.57 - 2.32 and the outro solo from 3.50 - 4.21. All other guitars, programming, drums, loops, bass, synths, strings, I did myself and that almost drove me nuts.'

Geoff Tyson ft. Doug Doppler Go to top

TA II Track: 'Butterfly/Free Love/Fruit Frenzy'

Geoff Tyson - guitar, bass, drums & keys.
Doug Doppler - guitar solo on "Free Love"

’This track was originally composed for a horror movie soundtrack back in 1999. I wanted to write an instrumental piece that featured my guitar in a variety of sonic environments, so I decided to write a piece that had more of a classical than a pop arrangement. The idea was the piece would slowly evolve into various movements over time. It was featured in various indie movie soundtracks and dance DVDs over the years and after being approached by the Alchemist people, I asked Doug Doppler to do a solo on a part of it so now you have the incarnation that you hear today. This piece is a favourite in local strip joints in Los Angeles, which is a measure of success in my world.

’The acoustic guitar is an old 1970’s Gibson Hummingbird with an odd tuning. Most of the leads were done on a 1990’s Mexican Fender Telecaster which is a bitch on the fingers, but it sounds like magic. The heavy rhythm guitars are all Duesenberg. Doug plays Ibanez.’

Dr Ika & Temur Kvitelashvili Go to top

TA II Track: 'Georgia In My Heart'

’In the early 80s I was performing on one of the local jam sessions, thinking I was a monstrously shredding super cool dude, when a very young man joined in. He plugged his guitar into very “clean” amp and unleashed a musical heaven. His name was Temur Kvitelashvili and his technical ability and musicality were extraordinary at the time. After many years of practice and endless performances, driven by great love of music and supported by huge talent, Temur blossomed into one of the world’s great performing musicians, appreciated not only by thousands of fans worldwide but also by fellow guitarists such as Allan Holdsworth, George Benson, Scott Henderson, Frank Gambale, Les Paul and many others.

’Good friends from day one, we recorded several tracks together back in Tbilisi (Georgia) and after many years apart we met again at my home studio in Hatfield (UK) to record a track for this album. This tune is essentially based on Georgian urban melodies (especially the intro and the coda) and fused with western jazz/fusion musical influences. We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed recording it.’


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