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Tohpati Ethnomission - Save The Planet CD (album) cover

SAVE THE PLANET

Tohpati Ethnomission

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.83 | 15 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars A Fusion album not exclusively for Fusion fans

Yesterday received my promo copy of the instrumental album by the Indonesian ensemble TOHPATI ETHNOMISSION by courtesy of Moonjune Records. Being that I have little knowledge of Indonesian bands except for the excellent ABBHAMA, I was curious, until read the title "Save the Planet".

It's not that I'm against the efforts to save our planet, by the contrary, but normally the releases created for ecological, religious or political purpose are lame and forced, ending almost as a jingle (Just remember "Don't Kill the Whale" by YES), but after a few seconds I noticed that "Save the World" is something different and worth listening.

From the start it was obvious that "Tohpati" is an amazing guitarist that receives influence of great Jazz musicians as "John Mc'Laughlin" and even other Prog icons as "Robert Fripp", It's important to notice that with the use of a Synth Midi guitar, "Tohpati" covers brilliantly the absence of keyboards.

The triple rhythm section formed by "Indro Hardjodikoro in the bass, "Endang Rando" in charge of the Indonesian Percussion and "Demas Narawangsa" (Drums & Percussion) can only be described as frenetic, managing to leave the supporting role normally assigned to this section to take the lead whenever necessary, and Diki Suwarjiki in the suling (Sundanese flute) is the cherry on the top of the pie.

But TOHPATI ETHNOMISSION is not only a Prog Fusion band, the exotic oriental ethnic sound makes of their music an unforgettable experience for the listener, a prove of this is that I'm not a Fusion nut, but have enjoyed the album from start to end.

It's hard to chose some favourite songs, because all the tracks are powerful and interesting but I will make an effort.

The opener "Salamatkan Bumi" (Save the World) starts with a bass intro that soon morphs into a rich expression of Jazz and Ethnic Fusion with hints of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA with an exotic Indonesian sound. The radical changes force the listener to follow the music carefully because it's so dramatic that a casual listener may get lost. Even when "TOHPATI'S guitar is breathtaking, the uniqueness of this track is in the mysterious ethnic fusion and the frantic percussion.

"Bedhaya Ketawang" (Sacred Dance) is the other side of the coin, more oriented towards an Hindi ethnic sound flows gently from start to end, not without ´powerful percussion and bass sections where the strength of the band is manifested with great skill. But this time the star of the band is Diki Suwarjiki with his "suling", who creates that mystic and ethereal atmosphere.

After the 1:46 minutes frantic "Crimsonian" interlude that reminds me of "Lark's Tongues in Aspic", comes "Ethno Funk", which was a surprise, because instead of a funky song that I expected came a dissonant and complex piece, in the vein of "King Crimson" with excellent guitar and bass passages with incredibly contradictory sections that are linked with such dexterity that sound absolutely coherent...Just brilliant.

At this point I noticed that was reviewing each and every song and not only my favourites (well, it's hard to choose a few tracks from a brilliant album), so to avoid an extremely long review that could bore the readers, will have to jump to the eclectic "Perang Tanding" (Battle Between Good & Beast), a musical piece that has everything, from fluid Jazz passages to experimental sections and mystic moments, again all united with such dexterity that sound perfectly logic.

Special notice to he guitar solo around the 3:30 minutes, it's simply hallucinating. The album ends with "Amarah" (Anger), another complex track, maybe I'm crazy,but I listen some SANTANA hints and a bit of Brazilian music, but probably that's what I want to listen, because the music is so rich that different listeners may hear different things.

The rest of the tracks are in the same level, so it was hard to select just a few, but I had to be succinct being that a detailed review could had taken four or five pages and nobody would read it.

Before the rating I would like to say that if a guy like me who is not a particular fan of Prog Fusion loved the album, Jazz freaks will simply love it, an example of how vibrant and versatile a band can be.

Four solid stars for "Salamatkan Bumi" (Save the World), a Prog Ethno-Jazz album for lovers of good and elaborate music.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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