Simak Dialog - Demi Masa,
To be honest, I’m not as au fait with Indonesian music as maybe I should be based on the evidence of this. It is worth listing the musicians and their instruments as it may just give an idea of what they are doing. The band was formed in Jakarta in 1993 by Riza Arshad (electric piano, acoustic grand piano, synths), and he is joined by Tohpati (electric and acoustic guitar), Adhithya Pratama (bass), Endang Ramdan (lead Sundanese kendang percussion, tambourine, claps, toys, vocals) and Erlan Suwardana (Sundanese kendang percussion, claps, toys, vocals) with a few guests. I have been listening much more to jazz in recent years and the breadth and passion of this album is just breathtaking. At times it is very melodic, with either the keys or guitar being the lead, yet at others it is much more ‘free’.
This could never be considered background music as it demands close attention to what is going on. Of course a major part of this music is the percussion which provides a very different flavour to that from many jazz albums. Tohpati provides some stunning guitar, but it is the way that he combines with Riza that is the highlight. Take “Tak Jauh Pertama” for example where Riza provides most of the melodic lead with fairly simple chords, but what makes the song work is the note density and sheer bravado playing of Tohpati. At times his guitarwork reminds me of John McLaughlin, and if I was to pick just one act to compare Simak Dialog with it would be when McLaughlin and Carols Santana combined together for a few albums but it would be justifiable to mention Pat Metheny or Return To Forever, yet none of these tags do this justice.
If you enjoy jazz and fusion then this is an essential purchase.