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simakDialog: Demi Masa

Glenn Astarita By

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The fifth album by this Indonesian unit offers a mélange of progressive jazz and cerebral rock, augmented by a highly entertaining form factor. Here, the Fender Rhodes electric piano resides as the primary musical voice as Riza Arshad toggles between it and acoustic piano, also using an ancient Oberheim analog synth for colorific textures. Moreover, Arshad frequently enacts odd-metered unison lines with guitarist Tohpati amid the omnipresent Indonesian percussion groove, topped off by the band's capacious metrics.

The jazz factor is immaculately fused into the ethnocentric rhythmic constituent and Asian modalities via the musicians' nouveau approach to jazz-based metrics. Tohpati's sustain-drenched single note lines inject an edge yet he also harmonizes with Arshad during various melodic passages. On "Tak Jauh Pertama (Not So Far, Part 1)," the ensemble imparts a jazzy world-beat vibe, teeming with mystical storylines and the guitarist's resonating notes. In other regions of sound, the musicians moderate the pace with an all-acoustic format, where the percussionists often counterbalance Arshad's fluent chord clusters.

The band renders a potpourri of tonal contrasts and matrix-like journeys complete with spacey background treatments and ethereal overtures. They intermittently surface as a gentile unit, yet reverse their stance by acting as deterministic jazz warriors atop budding percussion movements. On that note, they pronounce a distinct muse and scope of attack that is clearly their own. Among other niceties, this component looms as an impressive trait, especially when considering the horde of young and highly-trained artisans who seem content on rehashing many of the paths previously navigated. Contrarily, this unit intimates the antidote to that notion.


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).

Title: Demi Masa | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Moonjune Records

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