Review by Matthew Forss from


Review from (european distributor of Fractal Audio products)- featured Axe-Fx II album



 Album Notes:

All tracks composed by Ketil Strand, except track 11; Toccata from Organ Symphony no.5, composed by

Charles-Marie Widor.

All instruments (guitars, bass, banjo, guitar percussion and electronic hand drums/percussion*) played by Ketil Strand, plus drum programming on tracks 4 and 9.

All electric guitars (except¤) and basses were recorded direct through Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II Preamp/Effects processor. (No guitar amps were used). Recorded and produced with Cubase. (¤ *A Digitech Brian May Red Special pedal were used for the outro part on track 4, and a Roland GR-55 guitar synth for the "organ" parts on

track 11)

This is my second solo release, and I'm following basically the same recipe as on my 2011 album «Axe-Files», but with a few changes. I'm still playing all instruments myself, but on "Axe-Files" I used programmed sampled drums (EZ drummer) on almost all tracks. This time EZ drummer were used on two tracks only (4 and 9). Some of the tracks have no rhythm parts at all, and on the remaining tracks I played real-time «drums/perc.», using the body/strings of an acoustic guitar, and/or a Roland Handsonic electronic drums/percussion pad*. So, more playing and less programming ;-)


Track list with comments:

01 Å ja!? (Oh yeah!?) : Funky bass, bluesy guitar, plus banjo..

02 11-7: This is not a misspelling of the name of a convenience store chain, but refers to the time signatures used..

03 Final version: This piece has gone through many changes since I wrote it many years ago,but this is the final version(?)

04 ? (What?) : Well, what can I say about this..?

05 PM : The title opens for different interpretations; afternoon, personal message or Pat Metheny, to name a few..

06 Slap off! : This title probably has no meaning in english, but innorwegian it becomes a pun based on an expression used by classic norwegian TV sitcom character Marve Fleksnes, and the fact that the bass line is played «slap hand» style.

07 Nothing you can do about it :This actually had lyrics originally, but I converted it to an instrumental, keeping the

original title.

08 Dadgad : Refers to the special guitar tuning used here.

09 Overdrive : The title says it all.

10 Repeat After Me : This is based on a two-bar motif which is repeated throughout the piece.

Other small motifs and a long improvisation are played on top of it, and at one point everything is also played backwards

(watch out for secret messages(?) ;-)

11 Toccata from Organ Symphony No.5 by Charles-Marie Widor: This is one of my crazy ideas. The organist played this piece at my wedding, and I was intrigued by it. Incidentally, I did a guitar version of J.S.Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor on my first album, so it seems I'm specially drawn towards organ Toccatas.. I'm playing the right hand/melody part on a regular clean guitar, and the left hand and pedal/bass parts on a Fender Roland-Ready Strat/Roland GR-55 guitar synth, with a pipe organ sound.


Thanks to: All the great guitarists, musicians and composers that have inspired me over the years, my musician friends and colleagues, my fans, youtube subscribers, viewers and commenters, my guitar students, cdbaby, Sussi and Jaques from G66 (Europan Fractal Audio distributor), and last but not least, my wife and family for their warm support.


Ketil Strand 2013


Previous releases: "Axe-Files" (2011) (available for download at cdbaby)



Guitar/Gear Geek section:

Gear used:

All electric guitars (except *) and basses were recorded direct through Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II Preamp/Effects processor.

(No guitar amps were used)

Fractal Audio MFC-101 Foot Controller

Roland Handsonic HPD-10 (electronic hand percussion pad)

*Digitech Brian May Red Special pedal (for the outro on track 4)

Bartlett Guitar Mic B (for acoustic guitars)

Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer (track 11; pipe organ sound)


(For live use I also have a couple of Matrix Q12A active FRFR monitors, which were not used during the recording process)


Guitars and basses used:

Ibanez 2405 “Custom Agent” (Les Paul type, late ‘70s model (?) (track 1)

Ibanez 2365B (fretted) bass (“jazz bass” copy, late ‘70s model (?) (tracks 1,2,4,6,7 and 9)

Eastone BJ-30 Banjo (track 1)

Music Man Steve Morse signature (tracks 2,6 and 7)

Ibanez 2365B(?) Fretless bass (“jazz bass” copy, late ‘70s model (?) (tracks 3 and 5)

Saga Cigano GJ-10 (“Gypsy Jazz” guitar) acoustic (track 3)

Ibanez GSZ120 with built-in Fernandes Sustainer system (track 4 and 6 (first solo part)

Gibson Les Paul Studio ‘60s tribute (P-90 pickups) (tracks 4,10 and 11)

Burns Brian May signature (track 4; outro part only)

Yamaha APX5NA acoustic nylon-string (track 5)

Fender Nashville B-bender Telecaster (track 6)

Sigma JRC 40E acoustic (track 8)

Carvin DC135C (track 9)

Fender Standard Roland-Ready Stratocaster (track 11)

The album is available for download on CDbabyITunesAmazonmp3 and several other download services. It is also available in physical cd format on cdbaby and in local record shops in my hometown Ålesund (Norway). Or you can buy it directly from me (contact me here)