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I Know You Well Miss Clara - Chapter One CD (album) cover

CHAPTER ONE

I Know You Well Miss Clara

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.92 | 34 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars Never let it be said that I don't do my research, so here are a few facts regarding IKYWMC's home country, Indonesia. While many people, especially those from the Northern Hemisphere, may be working under the assumption that it is just a small group of islands somewhere north of Australia, it is, in terms of population, the fourth largest country on earth (behind China, India, and the US) with a current estimated population of 250 million, which is somewhat different to the UK's 65 million and NZ's 4.5!! It is an archipelago that comprises over 17,000 islands, which go to form a land mass equating to 1,919,440 square kilometres (735,355 square miles) which means that it is the 19th largest country in terms of land. As well as being one of the largest countries in the world they are also mad on music, which is why Leo spends so much time down there unearthing real gems, and yet again he has made a rock solid find with the debut from this instrumental quartet.

These guys have been influenced by progressive rock, psychedelic rock, improvisational jazz and other forms and have brought it all together in an incredible fusion album showing elements of Jimi Hendrix, Soft Machine, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis and Hatfield & The North among others (just to name a few). Incredibly, this album was recorded in just 18 hours, with most of the material being either first or second takes. Although there are large elements of 'free jazz' in what they are doing, there is also a great deal of structure and the melodies and intricacies are sublime. They are also very conscious of the arrangements and need for space, and it is not unusual for there are to be long passages where only one or two are actually playing and the others let them get on with it. It is going to be very easy for the rhythm section of bassist Enriko Gultom and drummer Alfiah Akbar to be overlooked, as although they display incredible skills and intuitive playing they are there for the supporting roles behind the two writers and soloists, guitarist Reza Ryan and keyboard player Adi Wijiya. They combine, separate, let each other take the full spotlight, with a delicacy of touchy and fluidity of playing that is quite inspired. Adi's playing, especially when he is using piano, is full of emotion and lightness of touch while Reza is for me channelling the skills and dexterity of a young John McLaughlin. Although the closing song "A Dancing Girl From Planet Marsavishnu Named After The Love" may not have the spelling quite right, I am sure that it is a tribute to the man himself, and is one of two where they feature some wonderful guest sax from Nicholas Combe who sounds right at home.

The album is a delight from start to finish, and I have to concur with the statement from Sid Smith that is included in the digipak "The time you spend getting to know this music will be time well spent indeed". If this is their debut, what on earth are they going to come up with next? Fusion really doesn't get any better than this.

kev rowland | 5/5 |

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