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I Know You Well Miss Clara: Chapter One (2013)

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I Know You Well Miss Clara: Chapter One How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

It's another nascent progressive jazz-rock band from Indonesia—with the idiosyncratic moniker—brought to us by the New York-based record label, Moonjune Records. The group sound and makeup tenders yet another slant from this region that to varying degrees, impart ethnocentric folk with Western musical concepts. With its debut, the young quartet's rite of passage is largely centered on climactic buildups, spiced with dense and haunting phraseology, where they entwine an aggregation of moody passages and breezy interludes before zooming in for the kill.

The musicians disclose asymmetrical layers consisting of Reza Ryan's crunching guitar licks and keyboardist Adi Wijaya's sleek keys voicings, at times summoning imagery of weightlessness. Consequently, they take their time establishing themes while also engaging in gutsy exchanges and seething choruses. The players also delve into the free-zone on occasion, extending their collective sense of adventurism and shine forth as astute improvisers. It's easy to discern that the quartet set its targeted goals with a strong focus on compositional development. So, if you're looking for a speed-demon type jazz-fusion gala, awash with dizzying time signatures and cyclical solo spots, then Chapter One may not fit the bill.

"Pop Sick Love Carousel" is a prime example of the band's propensity to morph drifting plots with frothiness and profound soloing mechanisms into an elongated melody line. Moreover, Wijaya launches into a brisk organ solo, prompting his cohorts to lash out and nestle into a popping groove. On "Reverie #2," they mix it up via an expressionistic sortie into a towering cadenza atop drummer Alfiah Akbar's weighty backbeats amid Wijaya's ascending block chords on piano, and Ryan's high-volume, distortion-drenched chord progressions.

Saxophonist Nicholas Combe sits in on two tracks, and joins the frontline for a few sinuous unison runs and ominous storylines, amped by Ryan's stinging solos and brawny developments, packed with a great deal of chutzpah. Hence, it's a well-formed and thought-provoking agenda that imparts additional insight on subsequent listens. The band uses space and depth as a means for appending colorful textures and a vehicle for refreshing previously stated motifs.

Track Listing: Open the Door, See the Ground; Conversation; Pop Sick Love Carousel; Reverie #2; Love Letter from Canada; Dangerous Kitchen; Dancing Girl from the Planet; Marsavishnu Named After the Love.

Personnel: Alfiah Akbar: drums; Adi Wijaya: keyboards; Reza Ryan: guitar; Enriko Gultom: bass.

Record Label: Moonjune Records


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