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simakDialog - Demi Masa CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.85 | 18 ratings

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars As most people here know, I'm no a particular fan of Jazz/Fusion, but about a couple months ago I listened "Tohpati Ethnomission" and was really impressed with the sound of this Indonesian band and the way they combine the experimental jazz essence and the ethnic influences of their country, so when I received a package from "Moonjune Records" containing two releases by "SIMAK DIALOG" from Indonesia with "Tohpati" in the guitars, decided to play this albums before anything else, and wasn't disappointed at all, so here I am trying to review "Demi Masa"

Normally people identify the word fusion with Jazz, as if this terms were the two sides of the same coin, but that's not accurate, Fusion really means the blend of different styles and genres into a new and original final product, and if there is a band that really fuses genres, sounds, styles and even musical flavours it's SIMAK DIALOG.

As in the case of TOHPATI ETHNOMISSION is clear that the band gives great importance to their ethnic inheritance, this becomes obvious when you notice they don't use traditional drums, replacing them with "Sundanese Kendang Percussion", but SIMAK DIALOG also privilege the classical Progressive Jazz approach with clear MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA influence,mainly in Tohpati's guitar and Riza Arshad's wonderful performance in the electric piano.

I won't even try to make a song by song review, not only because the richness of the blend, but also because not being a Jazz expert, would hardly make justice to what is happening here, so I feel more comfortable talking about my favourite tracks.

The first song that really caught my attention is "Salilana Kedua" (Forever Part II), in which the band places the emphasis in the ethnic/folk aspect of their music, the use of Indonesian percussion ad the dramatic choirs at the beginning of the song, blended with the exquisite guitar of "Tohapati" plus the mysterious beauty and the oriental sound gave me goosebumps. But that's not all, around the fifth minute and after a hand clapping section, the music morphs into some form of sophisticate jazz with splendid keyboards....Just impressive.

The melancholic "Tak Jauh Pertana" (Not so Far Part I) is also a high point of the album, the more traditional intro in the vein of "MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA" announces a different approach, but when we are talking about SIMAK DIALOG, it's hard to guess what is coming next, because they seem to improvise blending the different sounds and influences in their repertoire, again an amazing track.

The "Trah Lor" (Northern People ) trilogy [Laras (Voices), Rupah (Faces) and Tapak (Prints) ] is simply outstanding, but my favourite of the three is the first one "Trah Lor - Laras" where "Riza Arshad" plays an outstanding piano mixture of Jazz and Classical music with soft percussion enhancing the sound, simply delightful.

Last but not least, I must mention the 13:16 minutes epic "Disapih"(Being Away), a solid demonstration of what Progressive Jazz means, being that very few bands can make so many radical changes without being jamming, and if we add the are extremely complex keyboards - guitar interplay plus the solid rhythm section with the bassist Adhithya Pratama" in the lead, we have a breathtaking masterpiece that flows with energy and coherence from start to end.

It's hard for a member of the Symphonic Prog Team in Prog Archives like me, to rate a Jazz- Fusion album, being that it's a completely different style of music to what I listen in daily bases, but I would need to be deaf not to notice the brilliant performance and the touch of the genius in the composition, so with extreme confidence I will rate "Demi Masa" with four solid stars, being evident that we are before an extremely good album that any lover of great music should have.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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