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simakDialog - Demi Masa CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.85 | 18 ratings

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Easy Money
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Feel like you've heard it all, nothing new on the horizon, then it's time to check out Indonesian jazz fusion from Jakarta via a brilliant five piece group called Simak Dialog. Analog keyboards, guitar, bass and duo Sundanese kendang drummers make up this ensemble that sounds like jazz fusion from a small village, not a downtown bar, but is still modern and sophisticated nonetheless. Listening to this CD conjures up a plethora of possible influences including Chick Corea, Alan Holdsworth, Gabor Szabo, Soft Machine, Herbie Mann, Sun Ra, Santana, Sun City Girls and early Weather Report; these are just some of the artists that come to mind as this band effortlessly combines multiple styles into every song.

Probably the most striking element to this band, especially for being a fairly high energy fusion band at times, is the total lack of a jazz or rock trap set. Instead, you get the two percussionists playing the kendang which is constructed somewhat similar to a conga drum and has a similar sound. The lack of drum set gives this band an earthy traditional sound that really sets them apart. I also enjoy the total lack of digital instrumentation and fake physical modeling whatever. Keyboardist Riza Arshad plays a real Fender Rhodes, as well as an acoustic piano and occasional very tasteful and subtle analog synthesizer. Likewise, guitarist Tohpati keeps it real with simple electric and acoustic guitars with a minimum of sound processing.

The duo kendang drummers constantly define Simak Dialog's sound, but on top of that the others take the band into fairly aggressive 70s styled fusion, as well as tight rhythmic Indonesian minimalism, quiet spacy moments and groovy acoustic gypsy jazz. Very little post production goes into these songs, but the band keeps the sound textures interesting, especially Arshad with his Oberheim synth that adds a distinctly Asian metallic buzzing drone in economical doses. Great effort from a band that is taking jazz fusion to new and exciting places.

Easy Money | 3/5 |


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