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Tohpati Bertiga: Riot

Mark F. Turner By

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In contrast to certain widely recognized guitar "gods," there are many great players who are less recognized. This may be the case for guitarist Tohpati Ario Hutomo, simply known as Tohpati. He's an extraordinary player who has performed with exciting Indonesian band simakDialog. He also released the noteworthy Save The Planet (MoonJune, 2010), with his Ethnomission ensemble, whose language mixed ethnic Indonesian music and western influences into a broader reflection of jazz fusion.

Whereas Ethnomission's style featured a larger group that utilized vocals, flute, and percussion, Riot features the highly skilled power trio Tohpati Bertiga, with bassist Indro Hardjodikoro (from Save The Planet) and drummer Adityo Wibowo. Though the ensemble's been pared down, its music displays equal amount of bravura and originality, starting with the head-banging "Upload."

Nowadays, a set full of thundering riffs and blazing solos can get old pretty quick, but the trio not only plays with in-your-face swagger, it also avoids the clichés of progressive jazz rock by interspersing spots of humor (a little rockabilly) in the fun "Rock Camp" or schizoid guitar effects in the quirky "Disco Robot." Throughout the course of its ten tracks, there's plenty of room for everyone to bask in the spotlight, but the main focus is synergy, whether powering through "Absurd"'s twisting rhythmic changes or exploring an atmospheric soundscape in the melodic "Lost In Space." In each case, the trio display not just chops but personality, too.

Tohpati's unflinchingly proves his acumen and mettle. He dishes out a loud, abrasive, and bone-splitting riff on the title track before opening up to a wild serpentine solo, or mimicking a marimba against a swinging vamp, in "Pay Attention." His trio mates are equally ready for his challenging antics as the CD's single liner note sums up the vibe: ..."recorded in a small studio in Jakarta with a lot of fun and natural atmosphere." Riot fully conveys that sentiment.

Track Listing: Upload; I Feel Great; Riot; Middle East; Pay Attention; Rock Camp; Absurd; Disco Robot; Lost In Space; Bertiga.

Personnel: Tohpati: guitars, guitar synth; Indro Hardjodikoro: bass; Adityo Wibowo: drums.

Title: Riot | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Moonjune Records

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