SimakDialog — The 6th Story
(Moonjune MJR056, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-09-04This is chapter six in the SimakDialog story, a superb follow-up to 2009’s Demi Masa, but in fact the more gentle jazz touches driving their sound here harken back to earlier albums like 1999’s Baur and 2002’s Trance / Mission. The unique melodies that power these nine cuts are served up fresh and brilliantly by keyboardist and bandleader Riza Arshad and guitarist Tohpati, many offering traditional hints amid their melodic strength. The amazing interplay between Arshad and Tohpati is a never-ending cascade of clever reciprocation, whether it be the front-line arrangements of the composed elements, or the meandering improvisations that surprise the listener at every turn. What makes this even more unique is the four-man rhythm section comprised of bassist Adhitya Pratama, Sundanese hand percussionists Endang Ramdan (left stereo channel) and Erlan Suwardana (right stereo channel), along with metal percussionist Cucu Kurnia. Unlike some previous SimakDialog releases, there are no vocals on this one. To fully appreciate the power that all these percussionists bring to the rhythm section, headphone listening is more or less essential. That’s not to say this can’t be appreciated as background listening, but the keys and guitars will tend to jump out and dominate. With the headphones, a whole new level of appreciation will be realized due to the subtle mastery of this rhythm section. While some comparisons might be found in the early work of Chick Corea’s Return to Forever or Herbie Hancock of roughly the same period, the applicable label here is keyboard driven electric jazz-rock (not fusion) with outstanding guitar and some very solid ethnic cred primarily due to the complex rhythms that underlie it all. Nothing else quite like this.
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
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
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
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more