Lasse and Kalle in the studio. Stealing from Kitaro

EKalle Katz Keyboards Lasse Rantanen Bass Mr. Fastfingerverything is pretty much recorded now. The previous week Lasse came to finish the bass to the last four tracks with out bass: Be Water – Be Wind, Dusk, Utopia and Rite of Exploding Guitar.
The song Dusk had final drums recorded but rest of the song was still in demo stage. In general I had not payed too mich attention to the song after composing the original demo in 2012. Now once the final bass entered the game, everything sort of fell out of place. But in a good way. I felt I need to renew things. And indeed I ended up first rewriting the verse melodies. Good stuff, felt I got something spirituall similar to the song Epic here, althought the mood is very different. Then the old chorus felt wrong. I really liked the old chorus but the new one I came up takes you to the another dimension. I ended up also working on all the backing instruments, changing synth tones and recording now stuff. Althoug the general feel is very warm with the song, some tones there are extremily cold sounding. It sounded like silver to me. Just a few days earlier I had bought a Kitaro LP Silver Cloud. The song sounded like Silver Cloud (not like Kitaro’s music or that song but I felt the tune takes you through a silver cloud) so I stole the title from that LP.

Then Kalle Katz came to my studio to work on our KaKalMas recording which has also slowly been progressing on and off. Anyways I thought I will put him to do something for Mr. Fastfinger once he was around! I had a spot open for “Be Water – Be Wind”. The song has a cool groovy, lazy kung-fu kind of feel to it and no shredding involved at all. I was afraid I’d be too tempted to shred in the middle part. So I thought I’d let Kalle do something there instead. And indeed the part turned out very cool. The melody aligns well with the chinese loops that are doing in the background and has that desirable “little ninja” feel to it!

After Kalle left I added some final guitars to the song “Be Water – Be Wind”. I wanted to keep the original overdrive guitars from the demo, they are just perfect, but I added some clean electric and acoustic guitars. The song is perfect, some balancing with the mix and it’s done.

More updates later. The album is really getting ready. Yattaaaa!!!
Get ready for some sound samples and pre-ordering soon.


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No to writers block!

Is it possible to weep while sweeping?
I guess so! This week I’ve finished writing 4 song suite of arpeggio etudes. And these are emotion packed etudes. Even the client says he was pretty much weeping there when listening to these tunes ;)

To write these etudes I had to take a different approach to writing. Had to slow down. Started writing the arpeggio excercises on Guitar Pro first and wrote simple harmony / chords to go along. After this round I exported the excersise parts as midi. In cubase I started working on rhythm guitar parts, wrote demo drums and started shaping structure to the actual etudes. Added some melodic parts here and there, to make it sound more like real music.

Being “forced” to write like this was refreshing. I usually am in too much rush to write things down in notation first. Here it was a good first step!
Anyways I’ve got now four songs in demo mixes that will next be taken forward by Markus Pajakkala (Utopianisti), he’ll do some drumming and bassing and further tweaks perhaps and mixing.

The etudes are great. But I think I might take these tunes futher one day and parhaps create an EP out of these. Expand, add some some guitar solos and replace some of the arpeggios with more melodies etc. One day. BUT! I need to get the new album finished and out first!

And finally about writers block. The more I write music the less I face problems in writing music. The flow can be found when you just keep working on.
Also when not trying to create a master piece can be a key too. Just write on and keep producing. You have to write many songs to come up with a few gems.

 


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Low frequencies with Jan-Olof Strandberg

Had a great night yesterday when bass master Jan-Olof Strandberg visited my humble home studio. He delivered his groovy magic on two Mr. Fastfinger songs. What an honour. This is one of the biggest reasons I love making music, being able to collaborate with great musicians. I respect this moment, thank you again Jan-Olof!
One week ago I also recieved an amazing guest guitar solo from ____ . Hihiii, you will never guess… I’ll reveal later Anyways it’s pretty much just 4 tracks of bass yet to be done with Lasse, plus one and half songs of guitars. I’m sure there’s some minor extra stuff also, but we’re soon entering the mixing stage.

Had a little sled ride hand injury some days ago, but it seems that i was lucky this time. My fretting hand is recovered quite nicely already.

The picture below shows an excerpt from a sheet I drew for Jan-Olof. I wrote down the harmony, and the main kick/snare rhythm. In the end I think it was most useful for seeing the structure of the song fast.


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Boogie experiment in locrian mode


Yesterday I challenged myself to compose a BOOGIE in LOCRIAN mode. Here’s a little teaser to give you the main idea. Now locrian is very hard to create music with. Does this sound like music to you?

The main part, first half of the 16 bars remains in locrian, before it turns to other chords and inversion in diatonic manner.
That’s Kai Hahto on drums, doing the double kick shuffle. He haven’t heard the tune yet, we did the drums first. Percussion is demo, bass is a demo, guitars might stay or be done again.
The work is in progress!

NOTE: this won’t give you a taste of what the album will sound like. This is a side kick tune. Hmmm. a double side kick boogie…

Listen on SoundCloud

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Mr. Fastfinger album III progressing

Mr. Fastfinger‘s album no. 3 is slowly getting together. All the songs are composed, the song order is getting clearer and clearer.
These are exciting times, been working with bunch of great musicians and friends: Thomas Törnroos, Lasse Rantanen, Kai Hahto (Nightwish, Wintersun etc…), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) …and then there’s some new friends onboard, yet to be revealed!
Most guitars are recorded. One drum and percussion session to do with Thomas. A lot of bass sessions to do.
So thankful of being able to do this. There’s are still some mountains, or hills to be climbed, but this is very enjoyable phase in the overall production. Proud of these songs and performances. Will be a great album I’m telling!

You can bet this album (and something way much more) is coming out in 2015. Will be the ten year anniversary year of Mr. Fastfinger!

Mika


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Exploding solo 2.0 and Jordan Rudess guesting on the new Mr. Fastfinger album

The Rite of Exploding Guitar

The album and related cartoon projects are progressing. Indeed in 2015 we will celebrate the ten year old Mr. Fastfinger. I wanted to give sensei a new guitar solo, a sort of update to the original “Exploding Solo”. Honesly, I wanted to do a new guitar solo on “In Motion” album already, but it just didn’t happen, no matter how I tried. This time I knew it might take some time and it sure did. I setup a cubase session, put “Exploding Solo” video running on the screen with no sound to give me right direction. Still the first few days I spent in the studio went to wrong direction. It didn’t have the right feel and energy. I got something interesting out of these days, but it wasn’t the thing for this case. Re-fresh and new start, added some Taiko drum loops to the Cubase sequencer and some other synth tones. Now it started feeling right. I didn’t even need the old cartoon on screens anymore as I had just watched it for few days and I saw the visuals in my head already. Found out that the key element in such a solo is the spirit, it can’t be too seriuous or forced. It has to be epic, but also have the right kind of humor there. It has to have some read depth but also it has to be light hearted too. This balace is not easy to obtain. Creating this solo however came out quite flowing. First rought version came together in two or three hours.  Found some nice key and chord changes that were stimulating along with the cool rhythm. During the next sessions over the following days I just tweaked and worked on detals. Along when working on the actual guitar solo part I was still tweaking the backingtrack. Certain additional chord changes and rhythm changes helped me to achieve the much wanted climax in the end. It is exploding and intense solo, but also very musical and melodic sounding!

The last week and so I’ve been working on the visuals and cartoon of it. Hey it’s a must! The cartoon will pay a tribute to the original Guitar Shred Show.com. It’s definetly rewarding and fun for me to go back and re-use and work with some of the original backgrounds and drawings.

 

Jordan Rudess guest appearance

In the mean time I’m workin on this solo I got material from Jordan Rudess himself. We had talked 1 year and half ago that he would do keyboards for one track for me. I sent Jordan backing tracks of the song “Spirit Hunt” and drew him specific instructions and guides where I’d wish him to play etc. Also transcribed him a little unison part to make his work easier at that spot. Recieving material from guest soloist is always exciting, but also a little shocking. You’re always expecting something, and usually you get surprised! Had positive shocks and great surpirses yesterday morning when found the masterial waiting in my e-mail. The keyboard lines certainly uplift this song to higher levels. Can’t believe it. So excited, look so much forward finishing the tune.
The outro has a quite long solos happening. I think I will need to redo my guitar solos, because what Jordan Played is too fast, I need to match it better! Haha!
Having Jordan as a guest for third time now. I feel very humble about it. Can’t take him for granted. I really do cherish this collaboration.
The track, Spirit Hunt, as you might remember, it’s based on the Jam Track Central jam I wrote almost two years ago (Mika Tyyskä: Expressive Modes -package) However this jam has now been uplifted and extended, so many new parts and so many new dimensions there for you to discover. It’s the most progressive and longest piece on the album so far.


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summer vacation over, back to work!

The summer vacation is over. 4 weeks I managed to be unproductive. To be honest I didn’t even touch the guitar much at all during the weeks. Mostly just hanging with the family, little trips and easy days. Relaxing. Had one gig at the end of last vacation week, so during that week I had to start slowly getting back to shape. Vacation was also time for updating the studio. New table (vintage desk meant for wood workshops with two vices) was installed, also built and customized some new racks for the control room area of the room. For the last thing I framed my computer screens with bamboo. Recycled materials for the screens came from an old bamboo stool.
So now I’ve got the studio running again and very anxious to start working!

In the studio picture you see a Mr. Fastfinger desktop background image on the screens. If you wish to use the same image on your computer, click this small version of the image for the highres. Be sure to share an image of your computer desktop in social media, instagram, facebook, twitter…

btw. you can find Mika / Mr. Fastfinger at Instagram here:
http://instagram.com/mikafastfinger


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Mr. Fastfinger sweeping in the forest

Mr. Fastfinger progressing on his journey. We’re currently in the forest as the picture tells. Going deeper and deeper into the woods, searching for a special tree. Animation will go together with the song: Going Hunting a.k.a. Jump Like a Frog a.k.a…., still searching for the right title for the song!


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New Mr. Fastfinger material being produced

We can offically announch that we’re recording new Mr. Fastfinger tunes. Also animating new cartoons. Actually doing both at the same time . Not quite sure how many songs will end up recorded this spring, but I’m set to produce cartoons of 4 songs. The cartoons are part of a bigger project, but will most probably seeen as stand-alone music videos aswell. First song to be cartoonized is “Great Blue Waves” (a.k.a. Free Willy 6 ;) )  And what about the music release? When will it come out and will there be an EP or or a full album?
Stay tuned for more info. Please follow Mr. Fastfinger at Facebook or Twitter.

Here’s a little audio tease from a cartoon version of the song “Great Blue Waves”


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Revealing Mr. Fastfinger’s studio pedalboard

Mr. Fastfinger’s green studio pedalboard. Current signal flow: TC Electronic: Poly Tune mini- Mad Professor: Forest Green Compressor – Menatone: Blue Collar – Hughes & Kettner: Grandmeister (head) – MXR: Ten band Eq (in FX loop) – T-Rex: Fuel Tank Chameleon for power.
Usually have TC Electonic: Hall of Fame + Nova Delay + Ditto here as well, but I’m currently keeping the signal dry for recording.
For live use and sometimes in studio too TC Electonic: G-System is used.

So excited about Forest Green Compressor. I know many guitar players avoid using any compression but, damn, after many years of not using one, I’m finding a subtle compression very nice in many applications. It’s definetly balancing things nicely. Using the FGC (subtle compression with little treble boost) and Blue Collar (very mellow drive) together with the Grandmeister clean channel (driven almost to the max) is definelty in my current Top 2 tones.

Just re-painted this board green this weekend. Loooks so sweeeet and the tone is way much better now!


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