Peter Matuchniak – Uncover

It takes a certain level of class and charm to make music that’s both complex and mellow. Many jazz musicians are able to do this, navigating daunting skill while still managing to keep a venue’s atmosphere chilled and laid-back. Even some classical music finds a balance between these two. Now, the work of multi-instrumentalist Peter Matuchniak is neither jazz or classical in nature, but the same principle applies to what he does on “Uncover Me”. In spite of the rich orchestration and lengthy host of guest musicians, this album is- at its core, a down-to-earth and intimate piece of music. For better and worse, “Uncover Me” offers a brand of progressive rock that demands little of the listener.

Peter’s in a few different bands, but I was first introduced to his music via Gekko Projekt, an instrumental prog fusion quartet that released its debut album earlier this year. Although I was not entirely sold on their sound, the one element that really stood out was Peter’s guitar playing. He does not attempt to overtly impress his listeners with pyrotechnic displays, instead letting his guitar ferment and sing slowly. In this respect, he’s a little like Jeff Beck. Approaching this solo record, I was surprised to hear so little of his lead playing.. In fact, much of “Uncover Me” is actually balanced off between the many instruments that come into play. The songwriting often takes something of an intimate singer-songwriter approach, but the wealth of different instruments and voices used holds the album firmly within the prog rock sphere.

Although Matuchniak is responsible for the compositions and arrangement on “Uncover Me”, one has to wonder just how much of a solo album this really is. On top of the main man’s major contribution, there are a total of eleven other instrumentalists cited as playing an active role in the sound. There is a male (Ted Zahn) and female (Natalie Azerad) singer here, as well as three saxophonists… But wait! One of these saxophonists (David Gilman) also delivers a flute solo that could have passed for Black Widow frontman Clive Jones himself. There’s always something going on with “Uncover Me”. Sadly, the number of musicians used never feels totally realized in what they could do. The only moment throughout “Uncover Me” where the music truly feels as ambitious as I thought it would be is during “London Vibe”, an incendiary instrumental burst with saxophones ablaze.

I will remember “Uncover Me” for its lighter, acoustic songs, and this may be where Peter’s songwriting tact reveals itself the most. “Lionheart Betrayed”, “Sandcastles” and the sixties folk song “Hippy in the Rain” all steal my heart. The vocal work is most poignant in these moments, and the acoustic sound really works with Peter’s sincere approach. Although the jazzier, rockier tunes on “Uncover Me” are well put-together, it does not carry the same emotional resonance. Even so, Peter Matuchniak has compiled a convincing batch of songs here, with influences across the board. It would have been nice to hear more of his acoustic-based songwriting, but it remains clear that Peter’s big talent lies with the guitar. It will be interesting to hear where Peter goes next!


1. Falling Ashes (Landscape Burning Pt 1) (5:23)
2. Running Blind (5:06)
3. Uncover Me (1:52)
4. Down In New Orleans (6:28)
5. Running Back To You (4:16)
6. London Vibe (2:25)
7. Lionheart Betrayed (2:18)
8. Sandcastles (0:53)
9. Across The Pond (4:53)
10. Rising Sun (Landscape Burning Pt 2)
11. Hippy In The Rain (3:12)


* Peter Matuchniak – guitar, keyboards, bass, vocals

Additional musicians:

* Natalie Azerad – vocals
* David Gilman – flute, saxophone
* Conor Jonson – saxophone
* Jimmy Keegan – drums
* Rick Meadows – bass
* Ted Zahn – vocals
* Vance Gloster – keyboards
* Mike Eager – acoustic guitar solo
* Jim DeBaun – bass
* Jesse Molloy – saxophone
* Henry Miller – trumpet


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