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Peter Matuchniak

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Peter Matuchniak Destiny album cover
2.97 | 4 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Destiny
2. Product
3. Spies
4. Oyster Club
5. Tunnel
6. Go Fast
7. Go Slow
8. Island
9. Reprisal
10. Chaos
11. Victory

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Matuchniak: Guitar
- Steve Bonino / Bass & Vocals
- Scott Connor / Drums & Vocals
- Paul Mouradjian / Keyboards
- Natalie Azerad / Lead Vocals
- Alyssa Matuchniak / Vocals
- Ted Zahn / Vocals
- Jojo Nakano / Sax
- David Gilman / Clarinet

Releases information

Label: Melodic Revolution Records
Format: CD, Digital
Release date: December 28, 2014

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PETER MATUCHNIAK Destiny ratings distribution

(4 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(25%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (25%)
Poor. Only for completionists (25%)

PETER MATUCHNIAK Destiny reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars 'Destiny' - Peter Matuchniak (44/100)

To hear something called 'adult contemporary rock' is descriptive enough to conjure a fairly precise expectation of what the music will be like. That is surprising too, considering the only musician I know of who has ever adopted this seemingly contradictory style has been Peter Matuchniak, a progger-turned-soft-rocker (or is it the other way around?) I've had the pleasure of knowing for a couple of years now. While his work with Gekko Project fell into the realm of true-to-conventions prog rock, his unassuming solo debut Uncover Me was a more appealing and personal statement. Following it up with Destiny, Peter's second dive into solo work shares many of the same strengths and weaknesses as the first. The music benefits from a feeling of 'coffee shop' variety intimacy you don't often hear in soft rock, but severe issues with the beyond-sterile production on Destiny are more than enough to hold the album back.

The musicianship on Destiny is certainly capable, but there isn't much of an impression they're playing together as a band. Peter's production is remarkably clear and well-mixed, but there is something about the way it comes together that doesn't set right. There is plenty musicianship and experience to go around on Destiny, but where is the chemistry? Where is the organic interplay that should go with the territory? The production and multi-layered arrangements earn points on technical grounds, but there's no magic in the combined result. Granted, with today's largely digital home recording standards, it's easy to fall into this hole. With the fortunate exception of Matuchniak's guitar solos (which carry fitting resonance), it sounds as if the instruments were recorded in a closet one at a time with no direct collaboration between the musicians, only to be cut-and-pasted into the end result. The unfeeling execution isn't enough to damn Destiny entirely, but Peter and his friends are good musicians, and deserved to be heard in a better context.

One part of the sound that escapes the shortfalls of the instrumentation are the vocals. There is a certain warmth inherent to the human voice that, when sung with feeling, cannot be robbed by the most antiseptic production. Peter Matuchniak is a vocalist that acknowledges the limitations of his range, and makes the best of it regardless. There is a plain charm to his subdued performance that befits mellowed music like this more than a bombastic frontman ever could. The lyrics (which tend to revolve around a familiar apprehension towards modern society) are most often cheesy, but it's hard to make an issue of that when they're sung with passion (that, they are.) The only major gripe with the vocals comes in the form of a sort of spoken word mode Peter likes to go into per occasion; it's pretty awful, and sounds like a sleep-deprived Lou Reed talking to a mirror in preparation for a half-baked beat poetry night. Even that might be making it sound more interesting than it is. Mixing singing with spoken word is most often a recipe for disaster, and this is certainly no exception.

The biggest joy on Destiny are actually the female 'guest' vocalists; Natalie Azerad and Peter's daughter Alyssa. Alyssa Matuchniak is a boon to the band's sound; she sounds like a one-woman gospel choir, vocalizing behind the instrumentation to some great effect. Natalie Azerad's voice is showcased on the song "Spies", an exotic jazzy piece that ranks up with the best tunes the album has to offer. Hearing the vocorder'd female voice on "Go Slow" made for a pleasant surprise as well.

Even though Peter Matuchniak has networked within prog circles (his Gekko Project was indisputably proggy in nature) it would be a real stretch to call most of Destiny prog to begin with. The 'adult contemporary rock' term Peter labels his music with rings true in the slow, consonant mood of the songs. The fact that the last three tracks comprise a fourteen minute prog rock suite seems to clash directly with the rest of the album. In any case, I'm glad it did. "Reprisal", "Chaos", and "Victory" go a long ways towards redeeming the otherwise somnolent atmosphere on the rest of the album. While the performance doesn't quite escape the 'cut- and-paste' impression, the suite goes a hell of a greater ways to exposing the instrumentalists as great musicians.

In some ways, the prog suite comes too late to the party. Even past the lack of warmth in the production, I wonder if the typical songwriting might be too smooth, too mellow to have kept my full attention. Destiny does not appear to go out of its way to impress, nor does it. There is good material here, but the problems are profound enough to make it a mixed success at best. Even so, none of these issues are necessarily inherent to the art of Peter Matuchniak and his friends; heard live, I don't imagine musicians with their good intention and sincerity would have a hard time creating feeling in me if I ever saw them live. I hope I get the chance someday.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Soft and Classy Prog Related release

reviewers in sites as our's are sometimes hard with PETER MATUCHNIAK releases, mostly because they expect a full Progressive album, but this is Prog Related and we should expect something different. His style of music isn't the most complex in the market,but complexity isn't a goal to achieve "per se", it's good when it's the natural consequence of the composition, and not something to be expected in every album.

In Destiny he blends different styles from Prog, Blues Based Rock, Soft Jazz to some sort of vocal Pop, but the music is coherent and good?.Which the only thing that matters.

I've never been a fan of extremes, don't like ultra-complex Prog which I call "complexity for the sake of complexity" but neither I like extremely basic music that tells me nothing?..Peter has found the perfect balance between melodic rock and elaborate arrangements that I enjoyed from start to end.

My favorite songs are Destiny because the amazing guitar work by Peter during the instrumental breaks and the blend between Pop & Prog, plus Product an 8 minutes mini epic where the vocal work and piano are delightful specially in the closing section where Natalie Azerad provides a magnificent chorus that reminds me of Claire Torry in DSOTM.

Spies is also another track to listen carefully, because the jazzy atmosphere and the wonderful female vocal by Natalie Azerad, and even better if you listen it immediately after the previously mentioned being that both songs work perfectly in tandem.

The album is closed with Victory, which is the perfect ending for an album to be included in Prog Archives, an elaborate an interesting track from the Progressive Rock perspective, with surprisingly complex keyboard sections that break with the melodic nature of the record and gives the listener of this site a track with interesting changes and absolutely eclectic essence.

I won't describe all the other tracks because the comments would be very similar, but I have to mention the pristine production and the capable musicianship of all the members of the band who managed to maintain a beautiful melodic and oneiric atmosphere all along the album, except in the already mentioned Victory and the interesting Reprisal which sound closer to GEKKO PROJECT than to PETER MATUCHNIAK solo works.

If I was rating this album in Symphonic or any other 100% Prog sub-genre, I would be talking of 2.5 stars at the max, because it's not what we would be expecting, but we are in Prog Related, a category where Destiny fits perfectly, so in the context of a Rock album with Prog tendencies, I have to go with 4 stars.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars US based composer and instrumentalist Peter MATUCHNIAK was first active back in the '80s in England with neo-progressive bands Janysium and Mach One. Later on he moved to the US, and following a pause away from music he returned as a member of the bands Evolve IV and Gekko Project a few years back, and also launched a solo career with the release of "Uncover Me" in 2012. "Destiny" is his second solo album, released through Melodic Revolution Records in 2014.

"Destiny" comes across as a fairly sophisticated specimen of a soft rock production, a mainstream rock oriented album with strong ties to progressive rock and with a small handful of compositions inside the universe of the latter but where the majority of the material and the main scope is one I feel has been made with a broader reach in mind. A production that comes across as somewhat uneven on some levels, but that may well charm those who have an equal interest in jazz, soft rock and progressive rock.

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