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
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more
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