174

simakDialog: Demi Masa

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
simakDialog: Demi Masa simakDialog—the complex, electrifyingly joyous brainchild of guitarist Tohpathy and composer-keyboardist Riza Arshad—was born in the Indonesian capitol of Jakarta in 1993. Arshad, who wrote and produced all of Demi Masa, their fifth album, won Best Jazz Producer honors at the 2003 Indonesian Music Awards for simakDialog's album Trance/Mission (2002, Ragadi Music), also voted that year's Best Jazz/Contemporary Jazz Album.

Arshad's adventurous, exploratory structures obviously come from the jazz-rock fusion perspective. But what distinguishes Arshad's sound is his powerful but subtle use of ancient Indonesian music, primarily temple ritual music and the percussive heart of traditional Indonesian gamelan ensembles. Here's why it works: The repetitive, circling nature of traditional Indonesian chants and instrumental drones play like rhythmic loops that can literally go on forever, which makes them very attractive rhythm tracks for jazz-rock keyboard and guitar players who like to take extended solos.

It's really much simpler than that. A friend boils it down to "Return to Forever with tablas," which is a bit "too" simplistic but provides a great definition for jumping into the opening "Forever Part One" and "Part Two." Tohpathy's rhythm guitar chops out sharp chunks of melody, which subsequent solos set a jazz-rock fire. Arshad sounds like Keith Jarrett stirring the pot of Miles Davis's Bitches Brew, especially when he keeps spiraling out the same riff over and over—the sound of a musician with his eyes closed, lost in the outward sound of his inward muse—while multiple percussionist busily keep its polyrhythmic beats. There's something conceptually charming about the far-ranging and visionary song called "Forever" that can captivate attention for twenty minutes.

Arshad's keyboards also reflect the brilliance of electric keyboard masters from Brazil, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Eumir Deodato, in "Tak Jauh Kedua (Not So Far) Part Two." "Karuhun (To Elders)" draws strong ties back to Chick Corea's Spanish dancing, especially Arshad's acoustic piano solo, which bounces like a jazz leprechaun on top of its beyond-jazz accompaniment.

The uplifting finale "Disapih (Separate Away)" gloriously culminates all these colorful threads and patterns, the final destination on Arshad's and Tohpati's fantastic voyage.


Track Listing: Salilana Pertama (Forever, Part 1); Salilana Kedua (Forever, Part 2); Tak Jauh Pertama (Not So Far, Part 1); Tak Jauh Kedua (Not So Far, Part 2); Trah Lor - Laras (Northern People - Voices); Trah Lor -Rupa (Northern People - Faces); Trah Lor - Tapak (Northern People - Prints); Karuhun (To Elders); Disapih (Separate Away).

Personnel: Riza Arshad: Fender Rhodes electric piano, Yamaha acoustic grand piano, Oberheim OBX analog synth; Tohpati: electric and acoustic guitar; Adhithya Pratama: bass guitar; Endang Ramdan: lead Sundanese kendang percussion, tambourine, claps, toys, vocals; Erlan Suwardana: Sundanese kendang percussion, claps, toys, vocals; Emy Tata: Sundanese kendang percussion, claps and vocals (2); Mian Tiara: vocals (7); Dave Lumenta: soundscapes (8).

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Moonjune Records | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Free for One" CD/LP/Track Review Free for One
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 31, 2016
Read "Les Deux Versants Se Regardent" CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Moons" CD/LP/Track Review Moons
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 16, 2016
Read "In For The Out" CD/LP/Track Review In For The Out
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 12, 2016
Read "57th & 9th" CD/LP/Track Review 57th & 9th
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!