SimakDialog — Patahan
(Moonjune MJR015, 2006, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-01-01
For their first international release, SimakDialog offers a live set recorded in Jakarta in April 2005. At this juncture, bandleader and keyboardist Riza Arshad is joined by a rhythm section of electric fretless bass and two hand percussionists, along with longtime guitarist Tohpati Ario Hutomo (who delivers some absolutely spellbinding performances throughout the five long tracks), and guest female vocalist “Ubiet” employed on a couple cuts. We are in spirited jazz territory here, with occasional flourishes of rock-fusion (mostly by way of the guitar); the two percussionists (and notable lack of a kit drummer) give their sound a somewhat unusual flavor, though at their quieter moments, one could imagine this being right at home on the ECM label. Arshad’s sparkling keyboard work propels every track; if one could imagine Pat Metheny’s guitar phrasing transcribed for piano (both acoustic and Fender Rhodes, track depending) and delivered in a structured improvisational setting, then we are getting close. Often, though, in a very tightly composed style, everything will just halt and shift gears, or suddenly change directions, belying the idea of this being improvised. The final track features some simultaneous poetry reading in German and Indonesian at the start, then gets moving into a tasty sidelong jazz-vocal piece, unlike anything else on the disc. All taken, Patahan offers a fairly comprehensive sampling of the SimakDialog sound, making this a superb introduction.
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