Dwiki Dharmawan: Hari Ketiga

Dan McClenaghan BY

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Dwiki Dharmawan: Hari Ketiga
Hari Ketiga is presented as a logbook of a voyage from the Earth to the moon, and beyond, to contact with music from distant planetary systems—a sprawling outer space improv opera as dense and difficult to fathom as Frank Herbert's first three Dune novels, or Samuel Delany's Dhalgren.

It began simply enough: Leonardo Pavkovic assembled a group of musicians that included Indonesian pianist Dwiki Dharmawan and three mainstays from from his Moonjune Records roster—vocalist Boris Savoldelli, Touch Guitar guy Markus Reuter and drummer Asaf Sirkis—for a recording session. The only rule: no script allowed. After music was documented, two and a half hours of the results were sculpted by Pavkovic, who took the spaceship's helm and stepped into Teo Macero's shoes—remember Macero's moldings on Miles Davis' Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970)—-to make from the amorphous source material something altogether more coherent and oddly beautiful, a cohesive and masterful work of art. A post recording, long distance collaboration ensued. Pakovic and Salvodelli curated a magisterial, avant-garde-jazz improv opera that evolved to a higher form, as sound files for the raw material of the session bounced off satellites like speed-of-light ping pong balls, for the manipulations and augmentations by vocalist Savoldelli and lyricist Alessandro Ducoli, who made the sounds into a cosmic storyline involving the destiny of the planet Earth and all its inhabitants. An out of this world excursion akin to David Bowie's Space Oddity (Mercury, 1969), times ten. And throw in the proclaimed influence of the first century BC Roman poet Lucretius' De rerum natura. Given this information, some may nod their heads sagely and say "Ah, yes," while others might respond with a wide eyed "Ayi yi yi!"

Yes, things get deep, for those who want to go there. The liner notes alone read like a textbook for a loopy and slightly hallucinogenic course in astrophysics juxtaposed with the detailed breakdown/outline of an impressive space opera.

But how does this bizarre one hundred and fifty-five minutes sound? In a word: "Alien." With a caveat: In a good way.

Conversely, the twenty-eight minute first track on this two disc set, "The Earth," awakens with the serenity of Dharmwan's pensive piano, joined soon by Savodelli's (initially) relatively conventional vocals, before a vocal layering, via overdubs, comes into play, with an orchestral backdrop via (probably) Reuter's guitar workings and live electronics, followed by a masterly piano/drums interlude, before things move out of the solar system, riding the star drive of Reuter's guitar, into an encounter with terrestrial and extraterrestrial languages, from, again vocalist Salvoldelli, who takes his artistry as out there as it can possibly be taken.

The weird factor waxes and wanes throughout this extended journey. Encounters with Western classical music, from Dharmawan's piano, appear and disappear; ambient sounds seep into the mix; free jazz bursts into being, aliens speak the tongues of their home planets (Klingons? Tr'longians?); an odd snippet of what could serve as the germinations of very engaging pop tunes come into play here and there; a warm whiff of exotica drifts by in the starscape, enmeshed in a radioactive soundscape, and a reverberant sacred song from a church on a planet ten thousand light years from home howls and twitters down the spaceship passageway, searching for converts with an extraterrestrial evangelical fervor.

Hari Ketiga is a lot of music. It is by turns enchanting and bewildering, beautiful and weird. It is an effort about as uncommercial as one can get, but it succeeds artistically—for those with open ears, and/or those who can suspend expectations—mightily. A beguiling music, in its own strange way.

Track Listing

CD 1: Act I—The Earth/La terra; Act II—The Man/L'uomo; Act 3—The Event Horizon/ l'orizzonte deagli aventi; CD 2: Act IV—The Loneliness of the Universe/La solitudine dell 'universo; Act V—You'll Never Be Alone/Non sarai mai solo; Act VI—The Fact Is Done/Il fatto e finito; Act VII—The Perpetual Motion/Moto perpetuo; Act VIII; The Deal/L 'acordo; Act IX—The Memory of Things/ La memoria delle cose.


Dwiki Dharmawan: keyboards; Boris Savoldelli: voice / vocals; Markus Reuter: guitar, electric; Asaf Sirkis: drums.

Additional Instrumentation

Dwiki Dharmawan: acoustic piano, Mini Moog, Fender rhodes, harmonium, occasional vocals, ambient noises; Boris Salvodelli: vocals, vocal effects, live electronics; Markus Reuter: Touch Guitars AU8, live elctronics; Asaf Sirkis: drums, cymbals occasional ambient noises; Alessandro Ducoli: story and lyrics; Jeremiah Pah: voice, sasando (track 3, disc 2); Endi Pah: voice, tambura (track 3, disc 2); Peta Manu Art Group Led By Saul Nalle: voices, sasando, tambura (track 4, disc 2).

Album information

Title: Hari Ketiga | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: MoonJune Records

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