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.
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more