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Discus ... tot licht album cover
4.16 | 64 ratings | 12 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. System Manipulation (9:20)
2. "Breathe" (8:34)
3. P.E.S.A.N. (5:32)
4. Verso Kartini - door duisternis tot licht! (12:18)
5. Music 4.5 Players (7:40)
6. Anne (19:23)
Bonus track for Japan only
7. Misfortune Lunatic (6:09)

Total Time: 68:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Anto Praboe / lead vocals, suling (Bali, Sunda & Toraja), flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, Tenor saxophone
- Eko Partitur / lead vocals, violin
- Fadhil Indra / lead vocals, keyboards, electronic percussion, gongs, rindik, kempli, gender
- Hayunaji / vocals, drums, kempli
- Iwan Hasan / lead vocals, electric & classical guitars, 21 strings harpguitar, keyboards, guitalele & strummer violin
- Kiki Caloh / lead vocals, bass
- Krisna Prameswara / vocals, keyboards
- Nonnie / lead vocals

Additional Musicians:
- Andy Julias / acoustic steel string guitar on "P.E.S.A.N."
- Ombat Nasution of Tengkorak Growls on "Breathe"
- Godfried L. Tobing / Classical choir vocals on "Misfortune Lunatic"

Releases information

CD Musea FGBG 4500.AR

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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DISCUS ... tot licht ratings distribution

(64 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DISCUS ... tot licht reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Don't expect something easy to listen and digest when listening to this album the first time. It took me roughly 7 spins to digest this album. The first spin I was only able to digest several catchy tracks. I think it was only 3 tracks that I could classify as catchy tracks. It's a different feeling that I experienced if I compare with listening to Marillion's "Marbles" where my first impression was "Is it this simple? Why it took 2 years to construct the album?". With "..tot Licht" is the other way around "Ugh .. so complex! Why this band creates something damn complicated?". But the action that I took after first spin was the same: put the CD on the shelf and did not touch it for a couple of days. Life went on . and as usual I played other CDs of The Flower Kings, Yes, early Marillion, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Kamelot, Dream Theater, Kansas, etc. Something was then struck into my mind when I listened to The Flower Kings "Unfold the Future" and The Tangent's "Music that Died Alone". There is a similar tag line in terms of music composition between two albums, i.e. they both provide "complicated" arrangements for their music that I could enjoy. So why not "..tot Licht"? So I grabbed the CD of this album and spin it again. And then I realized the explorative nature of the boys in the band (oops! Sorry .. there is girl as well here .) in constructing this complex stuff. And here comes my review .

"System Manipulation" is a catchy track for me as I enjoyed it the first time I listened to this track. Opened with an ethnical vocal "aa aaa aaa" (it's nice melody here) followed by a canterbury / jazz fusion sort of music. The female voice enters nicely in this track. The music piece here reminds me at the music of NATIONAL HEALTH or WHEATHER REPORT sound. I enjoy the complex jazzy composition here, really. Drum is played dynamically here and it accentuates the song. The drummer seems like setting the tone of the music, unlike typical drummer who usually plays as a goal keeper. The melody is nice with guitar riff and Balinese gamelan as background that contextualize and enrich the overall composition of the track. Here and there you find an ethnical music of Indonesia: Bali and Sunda. At minute 3:30 the music turns unexpectedly and unanticipated before to a what so called prog met style (yeah, DREAM THEATER-like music) with strong guitar riff. Yeah! Hail the glorious metal!! Observe here how wonderful the male voice that sings in extremely high tone (remember, it's a metal part man!Yeaaaahhh .). The metal part is not forever though, as it turns smoothly (smoothly!) to a jazzy playground that let the female vocal takes lead. And then back again to metal part with great Iwan Hasan's voice "uuaaaaaa aaa" (it's metal man!). This makes the track unique and has its own identity. The keyboard solo at approx min "6:00" is really stunning! I wish it should be played longer here. Even though this track is complex, with great variety of melodies but it has a tag line melody that brings all other melodies center around it. I would say the tagline is at parts with the female voice and the ethnical vocal where all sing together "aa aa aa aa ". (ugh .. it's been so many lines I've written about this one track only? I'd better stop it. Honestly, this track deserves 3 pages review due to its complexity combined with varieties of melody offered by this track). I give this track FIVE STAR! Great job, guys!

The second track "Breathe" is another great track as well. Again, I like the melody at intro (after breathing sound) especially with the male voice that sings high tone "aaaaaa" (hey, I just realize that this kind of singing style is a sort of "trademark" for the band as I have never heard this style created before by any other band. Great!). Observe how the keyboard sound at background provides accentuation for this track! Again, to me this is a FIVE STAR track as it has strong and tight music composition.

The third track "PESAN" (in English means MESSAGE) is not my cup of tea, I think. It's a nice ballad song with a jazzy touch vocal, good acoustic guitar and woodwind instrument. At least, it's for a break after having gone through two complicated (pressurizing?) compositions. It's good though. So I give three star for this.

On "Verso Kartini". There are two things that bound to any music: 1.) the story that the musicians want to tell the listeners, and 2.) the structural integrity of the music composition itself. In reviewing this track, I cannot leave the discussion on its composition only but also the idea behind the music. I will not dwell into detail on historic nature of the story in itself as there are many books have covered this issue. What I can tell is that this is about Indonesian female hero, "Kartini", who fought for women's right during a colonial period in Indonesia. I understand that the musicians try to get the messages across through various melodies and backgrounds in this track. Looking at this perspective, this track serves the purpose as it brings the listener to the nuances of heroic and fighting spirit of Kartini. Unfortunately it cannibalizes (a little bit) the other part, i.e the structural integrity of its composition. It seems to me the musicians here have forced too much some pieces of music so that some transitions between melodies do not happen smoothly. I appreciate on the ability of the band to demonstrate the enriching nature of a fight, but it should not sacrifice the structural integrity of the track. However, considering varieties of good melodies offered in this track, I still give four stars. Not bad hah? They deserve it.

"Music 4.5 Players" should NOT be in this album. I wish. I completely hate this track! It demonstrates only the musician's ego (IMHO) by playing the instruments in solo. What the heck about the meaning of this tune anyway? It takes 7:40 minutes for this track? Such a waste of time, my friend! I completely disagree with the idea as it does not provide the challenge of bringing musicians together as a whole. Well, for those of you who like solo, you might enjoy this. For me? Oh no no no . I still have a bunch of albums to listen to. No way that I can bear one minute listening to this track. My experience when once I listened to it was that this track is only suitable for soundtrack of a film, something for "Tom and Jerry" movie, I guess. So this track is worth skipping . (thanks to digital technology that eases me to do this.).

The intro of "Anne" is wonderful, backed with a traditional Balinese gamelan and Sundanese woodwind instrument. The intro part after vocal is rocking with great pentatonic sound of Balinese gamelan. The guitar sound flows nicely with rock style followed by a traditional flute. This track is the most complex composition of this album. I notice some transitions are well done but some are not. The inclusion of Balinese' kecak voice has enriched the nuances. Hey, I smell a KANSAS-like violin playing at roughly minute 7:06. Am sure it's a coincidence, or influenced? Never mind, it's just a bit and not really "exact" melody. I like this part at minute 7:06 onward where there is a dialogue between male and female vocal backed by nice guitar sound and violin. Oh God .. this is wonderful and beautifully crafted track! There are many metal-like guitar playing in this track. All instruments were played skillfully. Again, I smell a KANSAS- influenced melody at around minute 15:00 until around 17:11. The segment from minutes 17:11 until the end represents the overall encore of this epic track with female lead singer take the lead, backed with very nice keyboard and violin. It concludes this track brilliantly! To make matters into perspective, if you have not got this album yet, it's like the ending section of YES' "Close To The Edge" track (structure-wise, not melody-wise). BIG FIVE STAR for this track! Again, another wonderful composition by the band!

As I have the LTD edition, there is a bonus track "Misfortune Lunatic" that I don't want to discuss here in detail as I understand that most of you won't get it. But this track is excellent, with jazz nuance and dazzling bass guitar playing and violin.

One thing I missed to elaborate: the sonic quality of this album is damn excellent! This helps a lot to digest the music as it is a complex composition. May be, some of the readers of this site may not favor this album due to its complexity. Never mind, I experienced 7 spins to get through. Once I passed it, I was definitely "hooked" with this album with exception some tracks that did not hit me as I mentioned above.

So, this album deserves five star rating IF there is no musicians ego (track 5) that I hate (sorry for the musicians, but I'm your customer. I reserve the right to dislike this track) and if the ballad is made more proggy. So it is fair to give FOUR STAR overall. Additional note: musicianship is TOP NOTCH! (all musicians contribute their parts skillfully!). What do you think? - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by hdfisch
5 stars Who would expect such an exceptional and adventurous album like this to come from Indonesia? At least for me (and certainly for many other people) it was a very nice surprise when I listened to it first time. Actually what the musicians of the band DISCUS are presenting here can be called absolutely revolutionary and spectacular. By defying all conventional rules of progressive music as we used to know it they're merging genres being considered theoretically as just not compatible to each other like punk, metal, jazz, classical, spiritual and traditional to a final blend that is not only highly original, unique and innovative but also very enjoyable and pleasant. Sometimes all (or most of those) different music genres emerge within the same minute (like in the first track) and surprisingly it doesn't sound chaotic at all after several spins and is fitting wondrously together very well. That's the first reason to rate this album with the full score. Second one is the incredibly high diversity of instruments used. Apart from the usual rock line-up i.e. clarinet, saxophone, violin, flute and all sorts of traditional one having names we never heard of. Third reason is the fact that despite all this complexity and oddity they managed to create something like a nice artful atmosphere on here.

First two tracks and the multi-parted "Verso Kartini - door duisternis tot licht!" are the weirdest ones and people having problems with metal growls will hardly find pleasure here. It's hard to describe the music presented here in detail, but roughly spoken it's a mixture of progressive rock, free jazz, Indonesian Gamelan music, Zappa-esque avant-garde, jazz with pleasant female vocals and heavy metal riffs with menacing growls. "P.E.S.A.N." is a very pleasant recovery between all these exhausting style mixes, a traditional song presented with multiple voices in Indonesian language accompanied by flute, clarinet and acoustic guitar. "Music for 5 Players" is (for me) the least enjoyable one, a piece of contemporary classical music presented as alternating solos on string and brass instruments supported by Indonesian percussion. Very well played actually though sounding quite odd at times, but for my taste a bit too - how to say? - pretentious and rather redundant. But this together with the ugly artwork is really the only point of criticism I can put on this album. Last track "Anne" is the one closest to classical old school prog, at least it has a few sections within its 20 minutes running time that sounding close to what we usually understand by this. Nevertheless the diversity of music styles is as well incredible here but it has been done in a more accessible way, so this track would be a suitable one to start with this album. Having a rather ecstatic finish this composition represents a worthy grand finale for an excellent album.

Finally the only thing left for me to say is to highly recommend this band to any prog fan interested in unique and adventurous music. Subtracting the mentioned negative point it still comes to a final rating of 90 % = 4,5 stars, but I'll round up to 5! (Edited 8/5/2006)

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Avant Prog-Metal/Jazz and more!

This is certainly one of the strangest discs I've ever heard and it took me a very long time to assimilate. Discus is an Indonesian band that mix heavy-metal, avant-garde, jazz, and traditional chants into something for which the word "unique" barely scratches the surface. Plan on a few dozen spins of this title before you get what's going on, after your first spin you'll be laughing and saying WTF was that?

"System Manipulation" and "breathe" mix speed/death metal with breezy jazz and other oddities to produce the craziest part of the album and things change constantly. Don't like what you hear? Wait 10 seconds and it'll change. "PESAN" shifts gears and gives us acoustic guitars, strings, woodwinds, and lovely harmonies. Definitely a needed respite after the sonic assault of the first two songs. "Verso Kartini" almost reminds me of "Sound Chaser" from Relayer and is an excellent example of Discus' instrumental prowess. But what puts "tot licht!" over the top is the epic closer "Anne" clocking in at 20 minutes and worth every second. Inspired by the diary of Anne Frank this is Discus going for broke. Very ambitious to say the least. While I can hear influences from other bands here Discus is very original and truly progressive in an era where so many new albums seem to retread past glories in one way or another.

This is a band capable of a masterpiece and this album has many flashes of brilliance. There are a few minor problems. Some of the lyrics seem a bit juvenile, some of the male vocals are beyond annoying, and it could be argued that the quirkiness factor is overplayed to the detriment of the overall vision. Still this album is one hell of a ride and highly recommended for fans of heavy metal, jazz, and avant-garde. It takes a long time to reward you but those albums tend to have more substance in the long run. I can't wait to hear their next venture!

Review by fuxi

From time to time voices go up telling you that nothing new ever happens in prog, and that recent bands just regurgitate styles from the past. Well, folks, if that's what YOU believe, make way for Discus - they'll simply take your breath away. You can't imagine how I've longed to find a band like this. They are far more exciting than Anekdoten or Porcupine Tree, and far more sophisticated than the Flower Kings or the Tangent. Please don't be alarmed by the label "RIO/Avant-prog", because Discus are incredibly listenable; they're not trying to annoy you, but oh boy will they excite you!

It's true their music is dense and intricate, in the same way as the best efforts of Gentle Giant, Zappa and National Health are. To a mixture of jazz-rock, folk-rock, heavy metal and symphonic prog, they add (very lively) traditional Indonesian styles. It's an incredibly potent mix - even more so because the band includes a female vocalist who will send shivers down your spine. You thought ecstatic prog which tries to take you to a new level of being (pardon the cliche, but how shall I put this?) was OUT? Think again. Discus reach heights which even Jon A. and Peter G. in their heyday rarely reached. (Yes, we're actually talking about THAT level of excitement.) They even include a fascinating piece of contemporary classical chamber music, featuring some fabulous 21-string harpguitar. It all makes me wonder where they will go next. TOT LICHT was recorded more than five years ago - can we have a new album, please?

A few bits of criticism. The heavy-metal growling on "System Manipulation" and "Breathe" may put some listeners off (especially since the English lyrics are silly) but they're just a single strand in an astonishingly intricate musical pattern. In their liner notes, the band as a whole thank God Almighty and a long list of people, after which every single member of the band goes on to do the same. This takes up a lot of space, which might have been more usefully spent explaining what the extraordinarily beautiful "Verso Kartini" (more than twelve minutes long) is about. "Verso Kartini" is sung in Indonesian, which sounds magical, but I honestly hope its lyrics make more sense than the album's pièce de resistance, the nineteen-minute (English-language) "Anne". Come on, Discus, if you're really going to sing in English, PLEASE have a little chat with a native speaker first... "Anne" sounds a little too exuberant at times, and is obviously a celebration of Anne Frank's spirit - a spirit which remained courageous, even when Anne had to to go into hiding. So far, so good, but I'm puzzled by the song's subdivisions. After 'War Dance' and 'Death in Agony', the final section is entitled 'Revelation: the spirit speaks!' Now, Anne Frank certainly died a horrifying death in Bergen-Belsen; if her spirit could speak, surely it wouldn't sound triumphant? Wouldn't it say something like: 'Weep for me, and for the millions of innocents who were murdered just like me"?

I hope I don't sound too negative; if I offered some criticism, it's because I'm convinced that Discus deserve to be taken very seriously. I'm a prog lover of the old guard; I'm writing these words on my 47th birthday, and I grew up with the classic 1970s bands. Since I started rediscovering prog (around the year 2000) I haven't found a single band as satisfying as Discus, apart from Kenso, one of my favourite prog-fusion bands. What impresses me even more, is that Discus have named this album after the book DOOR DUISTERNIS TOT LICHT ("Through darkness to light"), originally written in Dutch by R.A. Kartini, who seems to be a national heroine in Indonesia. Neither Focus, nor Ayreon, nor any other major Dutch bands have given any of their albums a proper Dutch title. If you consider how the Dutch once exploited Indonesia, Discus' choice is a superb example of what Salman Rushdie called "The Empire writes back", and as a native speaker of Dutch (though not a Dutch national) I feel grateful. So, once more: congratulations to Discus, and do keep progging!

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars First of all the art work is exceptional, very beautiful. As others have mentioned the music is all over the place.They switch gears so quickly and often that at times my head is spinning. This is a very talented group of musicians who are very much into progressive music themselves, and seem to want to cover every genre there is, so as to make everyone happy. At least it seems that way. I was reminded of SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM as well as Neal Morse's solo work, that's how diverse this record is.They thank Rick Wakeman in the liner notes who has been an encouragement to them.

The album begins with "System Manipulation" a song that starts off with some clapping and vocal melodies before we get the complex instrumental work. Female vocals arrive after 2 minutes with male vocals to follow. They contrast heavy passages with the lighter ones (with female vocals) the rest of the way. "Breathe" opens with heavy breathing and lyrics that talk about the subject of breathing in the air. Don't be afraid to care. Sorry wrong band. He sings "We are all breathing..." and then laughs.This song is led by the drums, and then led by the guitar before a dark and eerie passage 3 1/2 minutes in. Violin, sax, bass, percussion and drums lead the rest of the way. "P.E.S.A.N." is a pleasant song with male and female vocals singing gently together in their native language.

"Verso Kartini-Door Duisternis Tot Licht !" again contrasts the heavy and light passages so well. A flute solo comes in as heaviness comes and goes. Vocal melodies before a good guitar solo 13 1/2 minutes in followed by more flute. "Music For 5 Players" is an instrumental that recalls some of the chamber rock i have heard. "Anne" is the highlight for me on this album. So many styles of music are touched upon. So many tempo and mood shifts on this one.The guitarist peels off some solos early, while we get a classical flavour 4 minutes in. This is followed by a sax solo before we get a symphonic melody with piano and vocals. Some brief RUSH-like synths before 10 1/2 minutes. Some ripping guitar 13 minutes in. The symphonic passage returns 16 minutes in. It's the symphonic passages on this song that reminds me of Neal Morse.

If you want to listen to something completely different, that is played incredibly well check out this amazing band. For me it's a little too all over the place.

Latest members reviews

5 stars ...tot licht! is the second studio album by Indonesian avantgarde/progressive rock band Discus. The front cover album is much less than beautiful, and their English lyrics are sometimes a bit juvenile(in two songs they sing in their native language), but these are my only serious complains abou ... (read more)

Report this review (#1528784) | Posted by Norbert | Saturday, February 13, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is truly a masterpiece. many strange and odd sounds that make up a Simphony which I had never met in a essential masterpiece albums such as Yes, Genesis, king Crimson etc. These songs use a lot of ethnical parts Many leaps formed a very good idea. along the track, listeners will be i ... (read more)

Report this review (#442683) | Posted by Sleepernotes | Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars While maybe not as frantically enthusiastic as some of the previous reviewers - This is an amazing album! From RIO moves to quite delicate passages, to plain out and out hard rock, this album delivers what's expected and loved. The virtuosity of the individual players is very impressive, and if ... (read more)

Report this review (#185374) | Posted by tmay102436 | Sunday, October 12, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the first prog album that I ever heard from and Indonesian band actually, and I’m quite surprised that there’re actually such a band who capable to make something this excellent from my country! The band combines various elements in their music. But more importantly they stil ... (read more)

Report this review (#128196) | Posted by kazansky | Thursday, July 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's something amazing to find out there's a progressive rock band emerge from my country and quite wellknown, despite the fact that they had to travel far to countries to make them heard. I don't have their first album because I was late to find it in local music stores but I bought their se ... (read more)

Report this review (#45009) | Posted by | Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Only a few Indonesian artist both solo or group who has international reputation. For solo, Anggun has shown her capability as an International artist with her success album, meanwhile for group, Discus. Only 2 albums has been released by Discus, but with 2 albums they've makes Indonesian ... (read more)

Report this review (#31211) | Posted by torro | Friday, March 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I personally prefer Discus first album compared to Tot Licht. Yes it took me several listens in attempt to enjoy our own country front-runner prog band. The musicanship is of course top-notch, as Iwan Hasan ability to shred and play guitar - switching from metal riff to jazzy melodic tunes. ... (read more)

Report this review (#31209) | Posted by | Thursday, June 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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