By now, we’re accustomed to Mateus Asato completely reimagining well-known tracks by treating them to his own trademark style of neo-soul excellence.
In the past few months alone, Asato has effortlessly conquered The Beatles’ In My Life, Tears For Fears’ Everybody Wants To Rule and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, demonstrating that – even with a self-imposed social media exile – his chops remain up there with the very best.
Despite our familiarity with Asato, though, his latest cover has come as something of a surprise – an incredibly welcome one, at that – which sees the electric guitar whiz transform ABBA's Dancing Queen into an ethereal fingerstyle workout.
Wielding a white Duesenberg Paloma, Asato employs lashings of dreamy reverb and, with a capo strapped to the ninth freth, dials in a delicate, edge-of-breakup clean tone that plays host to the quick-fire cover’s seesawing intro.
That anthemic chorus melody comes around after a few short seconds, though unsurprisingly arrives with a few classically Asato twists. Combining the harmonic foundations with the lyrical hook in one part, Asato dances on the whammy bar and curates a utopic collection of vibrato-heavy hammer-ons for a breathtaking display of melodic playing.
A few modest slides, chordal embellishments and scalic descending runs later, Asato arrives at his cover’s outro, and ties up the excruciatingly-too-short rendition by weaving together a delicious concoction of open-string pull-off runs and a chime-y finale chord.
It’s been a busy time for Asato who, as a respite from recording his six-string snippets, recently took to the Grammys stage for a scintillating performance with Silk Sonic – the project headed up by Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak.
With his increased output on YouTube and a high-profile live outing, it certainly seems that Asato is ramping up his guitar-related activities.
Such speculation is not without merit, either. After Asato published an original track titled The Cure in December 2021, he issued an update in which he said, “Thank you so much for the love and welcoming words.”
He added, “I don't want to be the one who keeps saying, ‘I can't wait to show my new music,’ or, ‘New album coming 2022,’ but I just want to say that I've been in a good place, happy with most of [the] things I've learned this past year.
“Keeping it up with the essence of 'why I make music' could be hard and it faces brutal vulnerability, especially during these weird season we live [in] now. But I feel great after this time off, and I hope my music could transmit that at its purest.
“Thank you so much once again for staying with me in this virtual platform. I will see you soon, hopefully sooner than we expect.”