If you caught the on-fire simakDialog group—and if you haven't, where the hell have you been vacationing? Pluto?—then you already know that Tohpati Ario Hutomo has been the eating a lot of chopsmeisters' lunches lately, basically bringing back old Mahavishnu Orchestra days in culturally new clothes and with a wondrous elixir of many top axemen badboys (Fripp, Rypdal, old Frisell, Sune, etc.) tossed in alongside HUGE helpings of his own distinctive voicing. Riot was recorded in a small Jakarta studio and the place must've been flying apart at the seams as the sessions wore on, 'cause Tohpati just shreds in a fusion roustabout with heavy prog overtones.
In fact, the less polyethylene nature of the recording adds a lot to the grittier nature of the workouts here, as well as the jazzy interludes. I have a real affinity for the old Tasavallian Presidentti / Jukka Tolonen work, and I Feel Great and other sections of the disc remind strongly of Tolonen, with the title cut, Riot, coming off more Keneally-esque before jumping into Bill Connors' work with Pepo Mtoto (Julian Priester's) and the Love Love days, as well as early Abercrombie.
In the review for Mads Tolling's trib to Jean-Luc Ponty (here), I noted that Mads thinks there's a fusion renaissance going on. I wish that were true, but, really, I strongly suspect the splinter genre is about as populous as it ever has been, maybe even less so. Highly skilled musical adventurers still aren't all that common, and bands like Kmang Kmang and Tohpati Bertiga are the exception rather than the rule, but, if Tolling's right and I'm wrong, I'll be more than happy to be reconciled to that, yet stuff like this, on the steadfast cutting edge MoonJune Label, cannot be easily located. Tohpati has the energy, the insights, the nimble fingers, and the heart, now if only a few hundred more bands would follow suit. Still, amid the great sounds in this disc, wistful thoughts of what could be are quite nicely satisfied.
One very small criticism however: I woulda put Indro Hardjodikord's bass a more up front. Adityo Wibowo's percussives are just fine (welllllll, maybe a decibel or two could be added!) but Hardjodikord's appreciably underserved in the mix. Still, with a release this good, it's hard to bitch about anything.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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