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SimakDialog - Demi Masa

Demi Masa


Moonjune Records - MJR024

Available from Moonjune Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Where Steve Feigenbaum of Cuneiform Records is an idiot, Leonardo Pavkovic of MoonJune is an intelligent purveyor of unorthodox musics, though both produce admirable and almost identically balanced catalogs of progressive and outside musics. This gem from the Indonesian fusion ensemble SimakDialog is from MoonJune and contributes appreciably to keeping this form of progjazz fusion alive and well. Demi Masa is championing the 70s work of such legendary groups as Matching Mole, Soft Machine, Gilgamesh, and the progressive rock ensembles who cued from Miles, Corea, Jarrett, Zawinul, and the inventors of the form.

Keyboardist Riza Arshad is the center of the group, as might be guessed from the players just mentioned, and echoes those gents. Throw in Mike Ratledge, Dave Stewart (Egg), and the more elevated progsters, and you have a much more rounded vantage point. His accompanists, though, consist of a guitarist (Tohpati), bassist (Adhithya Pratama) and percussionists (Endang Ramdna and Erlan Suwardana) filling out the atmospheres beautifully in styles both primitive and modern, reflecting bridges from the predominantly European jazz-rock-world sound to far more southern flavors. Some cuts, in fact, are extremely deeply enmeshed in Balinesian, Carnatic, and other Asiatic orientations, such as the track Salilana Kedua (Forever, Pt. 2).

This is the sort of milieu Between might have evolved into, had it possessed the chops and discipline (Peter Michael Hamel and Tom van der Geld turned out to be the most enduring figures from that 70s band) as well as the level of expertise and expression, not to mention abstraction and cerebrality in an environment tending very much to the ECM sound (now suffering from, as I've mentioned elsewhere, pelican-brained simps in the administrative adjuncts). Guitarists may wish to attend to Tohpati's work in Tak Jauh Pertama which blends Fripp with early Abercrombie and Phil Miller—even a little Alan Holdsworth—a rare combination. This is the ensemble's fifth release and, from all indications, they're well past the stage of integrating and are operating on a constant full head of steam. Now if they, unlike most groups, can just manage to stay together, fusion fans have many years and many CDs worth of marvelous top-notch listening ahead of them.

Track List:

  • Salilana Pertama (Forever, Pt. 1) (14:01)
  • Salilana Kedua (Forever, Pt. 2) (6:46)
  • Tak Jauh Pertama (Not So Far, Pt. 1) (7:42)
  • Tak Juah Kedua (Not So Far, Pt. 2) (9:11)
  • Trah Lor - Laras (Northern People - Voices) (2:28)
  • Trah Lor - Rupa (Northern People - Faces) (3:41)
  • Trah Lor (Northern People - Prints) (3:46)
  • Karuhun (To Elders) (9:06)
  • Disapih (Separate Away) (13:16)
All compostions written by Riza Arshad.

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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