The MoonJune label has not been one to satisfy itself just with keeping progressive musics alive and well, it has also been stretching perimeters, inviting all and sundry to dwell far more in their prefrontal lobes while stretching back to the oft forgotten genius of ancient and not-so-dusty days in order to more fully embrace what the larger content of art truly conveys. With Tohpati Ethnomission, simakDialogue's (here) guitarist Tohpati continues to explore past and present in order to enrich the future, blending Indonesian tradition with an all-points awareness of the history of fusion, incorporating such influences as Chris Hinze, Jeremy Steig, Miles, the CTI and ECM labels, and no end of Eastern and Western increasingly diverse and growingly classic trademarks.
Take the second cut, Bedhaya Ketawang, which develops from a light jazzy Eastern air in the dominant flute of Niki Suwarjiki and slowly builds to a dramatic crescendo that lets back down into the opening line, resolving the theme slowly, gauzily, with a breath and a sigh. Then the frantic Drama injects a Mahavishnu-esque Frippian flurry, something Dennis Rea or Daniel Denis might compose, proving to be the intro to the equally frenetic and fractured Ethno Funk, an extended set of variations with a jaw-dropping guitar solo from Tohpati that will have Jan Akkerman sitting up and taking notice.
Should you favor the gamelon music of the Indonesian area, as well as the many other percussive delights to be found thereabouts (including Japanese taiko and elements of gagaku), not to mention the Carnatic mode of India and the variations found in Persia and other regions—in other words: if you're not a hidebound Western provincialist—there's an abundance of all of this surrounding a fusion core frequently surprising, as when Perang Tanding drops into a spacey Rypdalian mode with Jan Hammer aspects. In all, Save the Planet is a treasure trove of manifold delights designed to sate the most demanding ear. It's also a cogent warning that it may not be the West that continues to keep the flame lit. Thus, I advise Euro-Amero practitioners to give this disc a listen and then get their asses in gear.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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