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Tohpati Bertiga - Tribal Dance (feat. Jimmy Haslip & Chad Wackerman) CD (album) cover


Tohpati Bertiga


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.73 | 9 ratings

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4 stars Review originally posted at

One of today's most renowned Indonesian musicians has to be Tohpati, a first-class guitar player who has released a new album through Moonjune Records; its name is "Tribal Dance" and besides featuring his wonderful guitar, it delights us with the participation of Jimmy Haslip on bass and Chad Wackerman on drums, so with the lineup itself, the expectations are big. "Tribal Dance" is composed by 8 tracks that together make a total time of 43 minutes, where jazz fusion oriented tracks, will make you have a good time, believe me.

The first baby of the album is entitled "Rahwana", which happens to be the longest track of the album. The first seconds are odd, a tense background appears while some strange, native vocals chant. But after 20 seconds an explosive synergy of guitar-bass-drums appears, creating an obvious jazz fusion structure. After a couple of minutes the rhythm slows down and seems that a mid-tempo jam appears, with a guitar providing robotic-like effects in some passages, and clean fast solos in others. Of course, the music is led by Tohpati, who is the composer and leader, so guitar will be the instrument that will catch your attention the most, though is impossible to miss the great bass and drums section of those two monsters.

"Spirit of Java" brings a different mood. Besides the slower rhythm, the atmosphere is darker for over two minutes; later the guys offer a funky style which made me move my head and feel the rhythm. Percussions remind me a bit of Moerlen's Gong, while the guitar contrasts (in a good way) with fast notes. This great song does not really have one single style, it is a mixture of different offerings in just 5 minutes, which speaks about the great compositional skills of Tohpati.

Next one is "Tribal Dance" is a 7-minute track that does not have a lineal structure, which makes it interesting, and which makes the music flowing in spite of the different mini- passages it brings. I like all the inner changes it has, in one second you are listening to a slow-tempo section and then fast lines appear. The first 20 seconds of "Red Mask" have an isolated violin (I think) sound, but when it vanishes, the fusion trio bring back their power and elegance, so once again, a new piece is being built up with a great communion between guitar, bass and drums.

A kind of intermission comes next with the short "Savana", a track with a peaceful feeling, a relaxing moment after the jazz fusion vertigo. So take a deep breath and prepare yourself to receive the richness of "Run", which starts with some seconds of native people noises, and later a rock oriented track appears with delicious drums and of course the great chat between the strings. What I like of this album is that there are moments for enjoying every instrument, I mean, though the guitar is the obvious leader, it is not selfish enough to block the inherent talent of the bass and drums player, so they are also free to share their skills.

A kind of ritual can be heard in the introductory seconds of "Supernatural", which is probably my favorite track of the album. It is a vertiginous song that perfectly mixes cadency, energy, softness and rock. To listen to this song is quite an adventure, like a rollercoaster of sounds that bring nothing more than satisfaction; you have no idea of how much I enjoy this particular song. And the album finishes with "Midnight Rain" which is a softer track, a relaxing breath of fresh air to finish a wonderful record.

Well, if you are into jazz fusion and want to listen to a new, fresh and well-crafted album, you cannot miss this one.

Enjoy it

memowakeman | 4/5 |


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