Exposé Online banner

Dwiki Dharmawan — Pasar Klewer
(Moonjune MJR081, 2016, 2CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2016-10-30

Pasar Klewer Cover art

Solo (or Surakarta) is a city of half a million people in central Java with a rich history, long a center of Javanese identity and tradition, second only to the better known Yogyakarta. Pasar Klewer is a large open air market there where one can find just about anything, in many ways like the album at hand, where pianist and composer Dwiki Dharmawan presents a set that is nominally jazz, but there is no mistaking its traditional Indonesian roots in the undercurrent of nearly every tune, along with a sampling of elements of other styles, presented through his visionary filter. His trio features bassist Yaron Stavi and drummer / percussionist Asaf Sirkis, and on this two disc set they are joined by a number of other players and vocalists, track depending, including guitarists Nicolas Meier and Mark Wingfield; clarinetist / saxophonist Gilad Atzmon; Aris Daryono, who provides vocals and plays gamelan and kendang percussion, and rebab (a traditional three string violin) on a number of tracks; singer Peni Candra Rini on the beautiful traditional disc 2 opener “Lir Ilir;” Gamelan Jess Jegog (a gamelan orchestra) on the brilliant “Tjampuhan;” and Moonjune stablemate Boris Savoldelli sings on the last two tunes on disc 1, including Robert Wyatt’s “Forest” and the Wyatt-inspired “London in June” composed by the trio. Magically inspired compositions and playing can be found throughout these two discs, it’s hard to choose a favorite when so many of these pieces stand out to the degree that they do, but mention must be made of the powerful “Bubuyu Bulan,” a Benny Corda composition arranged by Dharmawan, where Atzmon turns in some stunning work on clarinet, and the follow-on “Frog Dance,” where some Balinese tree frogs even get in on the act, also featuring Atzmon on soprano sax. The oddest track here has to be the vocal version of “Forest,” with Savoldelli singing (there is an instrumental version also that closes disc two), if only because it just doesn’t seem to fit in with the other material, although after about a dozen plays it has definitely grown on me. Beginning to end, this is a monument to the fusion of modern jazz and Indonesian traditional styles, and a strong candidate for my best of 2016 list.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Boris Savoldelli, Mark Wingfield, Gilad Atzmon, Dwiki Dharmawan, Yaron Stavi, Asaf Sirkis

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Court - And You'll Follow the Winds Rush 'Till Their Breath Dwells – From the opening notes of "Rising the Tale" – a short instrumental interlude that opens the disc, it's apparent that this new Italian neo-progressive band has traveled a different...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues