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
There's No Time Like the Present – The Belgian band Present has been one of the best avant-rock bands in the world since its formation in 1979. Over the years since then, Present has released nine amazing albums, and now they're ready to start work on number ten. They're looking for some financial help from their fans around the world. » Read more
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more