Tohpati Ethnomission — Selamatkan Bumi (Save the Planet)
(Moonjune MJR035, 2010, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-04-01This album has so much going for it I'm not sure where to begin. When you start it up, you hear a brief bit of bass, an interesting ambient wash of indistinct notes, and some echoing flute. Then the rhythm kicks in and you get what might be called energetic jazzy Latin fusion, with guitar and flute in the lead and some great percussion; mallet instruments provide additional flavor. The upbeat sections are contrasted by some quieter moments featuring some lovely sophisticated chording from the guitar. Then we move into the improvised section, with some great spacy work from both the lead players. The percussion keeps us on our toes, however, and all the weird noises build up to a fast unison melody between the guitar and marimba. I'm reminded of Caravanserai-era Santana crossed with Gazeuse-era Gong. The second track introduces yet another element, Indonesian vocals, which are melded into the sound more like another instrument than as the kind of lead role that vocals usually fill. The tracks range from short pieces, usually with scaled down instrumentation, to longer workouts, some of which have distinct sections. The short tune called "Drama" is a standout: 1:47 of fusion intensity that would have done Mahavishnu proud. The main takeaways are that Tohpati is an outstanding guitarist and these are great compositions. It's refreshing to hear a guitarist with his own voice - while he's often playing lines that are technically difficult, they never sound much like what we normally hear from a hot guitarist. This guy is definitely not a clone of Holdsworth, Vai, Satriani, McLaughlin, DiMeola, or any other influential guitarist you can name.
Related artist(s): Tohpati
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more