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simakDialog — The 6th Story (2013)

 simakDialog — The 6th Story (2013)

 simakDialog — The 6th Story

Δ   Indonesian band blends jazz fusion elements with gamelan ensemble influences, prominently featuring Sundanese kendang percussion.
Δ   “The exhilarating, full–throttle follow–up to 2009's critically–acclaimed Demi Masa.  A modern progressive jazz masterpiece — an astounding work of uncompromising excellence.”
Formed: in Jakarta in 1993
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Album release: September 17, 2013
Recording date: 2012
Record Label: Moonjune Records
Duration:     59:46
Styles: Fusion, Southeast Asian Traditions, World Fusion
01 Stepping In     10:02
02 Lain Parantina     9:20
03 Harmologic     3:56
04 What Would I Say     6:24
05 For Once and Never     6:31
06 Common League     3:55
07 As Far as It Can Be (Jaco)     8:09
08 5, 6     4:39
09 Ari     6:56
Album Moods: Angular Atmospheric Circular Complex Dreamy Earthy Flowing Hypnotic Intimate Lively Mysterious Nocturnal Organic Pulsing Spacey Trippy Warm
Themes: Late Night The Creative Side
Δ   RIZA ARSHAD: Fender Rhodes electric piano, acoustic piano, synth, soundscapes
Δ   TOHPATI: electric guitar
Δ   ADHITHYA PRATAMA: bass guitar
Δ   ENDANG RAMDAN: Sundanese kendang percussion (left)
Δ   ERLAN SUWARDANA: Sundanese kendang percussion (right)
Δ   CUCU KURNIA: assorted metal percussion
Δ   All compsitions by Riza Arshad, except track 7 by Riza Arshad and Robert M.R.
Δ   All arrangements by Riza Arshad with Endang Ramdan, Erlan Suwardana and Cucu Kurnia.
Δ   Recorded at LikeEarthRecordings Studio, Jakarta, Indonesia in 2012.
Δ   Engineered and mixed by Riza Arshad.
Δ   Mastered by Sam John at Precise Mastering, Ltd., Earlston, Scotland, UK.
Δ   Executive Producer: Leonardo Pavkovic
Δ   Riza Arshad  Arranger, Composer, Engineer, Fender Rhodes, Mixing, Piano, Producer, Soundscape, Synthesizer
Δ   Raymond Benson  Liner Notes
Δ   Tohpati Ario Hutomo  Guitar (Electric)
Δ   Sam John  Mastering
Δ   Cucu Kurnia  Arranger, Metal Percussion
Δ   Robert M.R.  Composer
Δ   Fabian Nusi  Artwork, Concept, Design
Δ   Leonardo Pavkovic  Executive Producer
Δ   Adhitya Pratama  Guitar (Bass)
Δ   Endang Ramdan  Arranger, Kendhang
Δ   Mia Sjahir  Photography
Δ   Erlan Suwardana  Arranger, Kendhang
Review by Dave LynchScore: ****½
Δ   Indonesian world fusioneers simakDialog are high–spirited yet often subtle on 2013's appropriately titled The 6th Story, the group's sixth album overall and third released internationally by MoonJune. Aside from the closing acoustic piano feature "Ari," simakDialog move further from the Pat Metheny contemporary jazz influences of their label debut, 2006's Patahan, continuing their integration of Western jazz fusion and Indonesian gamelan music as heard on 2009's Demi Masa (June 16, 2009). The core lineup is basically unchanged since Demi Masa — although Cucu Kurnia has been added on metal percussion — and there are no guest spots, so this is pure, unadulterated simakDialog, expansively grooving but with a newfound singularity of purpose. The band is tighter than ever, as immediately revealed by the ten–minute opener, "Stepping In": the jagged unison lines of Riza Arshad on Fender Rhodes and Tohpati on electric guitar (he plays no acoustic on the album) are crazily off–center against the dual Sundanese kendang drumming of Endang Ramdan (in the left channel) and Erlan Suwardana (in the right), the percussionists marking out the angles while maintaining steadily percolating momentum. And in the middle of all this, navigating the off–kilter stops and starts while pushing the music along, is bassist Adhitya Pratama, punchy as he needs to be without grandstanding. "Stepping In" becomes a jamming vehicle for exploratory solos from Arshad and Tohpati, the latter's effects–laden axe breathing fire one moment and spacy the next. But even when the keys, guitar, bass, and metallic percussion accents knot up or jab outward, those complementary kendangs (which Afro–Caribbean and Latin jazz fans would likely find akin to congas), hard right and left in the stereo field, drive the music forward more understatedly than a conventional jazz or rock drum set, giving simakDialog's fusion an utterly unique, intimate flavor.
Δ   Nearly matching the opener in length, "Lain Parantina" maintains an easy groove under Arshad's Rhodes solo but moves from funk toward freer rhythms and finally abrupt chord blasts after Tohpati takes charge; the tune is bracketed by more tightly executed themes leavened by lightness and melodicism. Some have noted Canterbury elements in simakDialog's sound — unsurprising for a MoonJune band — and echoes of '70s Canterbury stalwarts like Gilgamesh and Hatfield and the North can be heard in Arshad's compositions and the group's appealing instrumental voicings, even as the rhythmic foundation comes from an entirely different place. The lovely, winding themes of "What Would I Say" and "As Far as It Can Be (Jaco)" could easily have been penned by Gilgamesh's Alan Gowen, while a touch of drama and even regality imbues "For Once and Never," with a melody reminiscent of Gowen and perhaps Dave Stewart or Phil Miller. A somewhat surprising left turn arrives with "Harmologic," an obvious tip of the hat to Ornette Coleman; Arshad and Tohpati break the theme into overlapping fragments and keep it within earshot during their simultaneous improvisations, while the meandering walking bass and circular kendang rhythms erase notions of beginnings and ends.
Artist Biography by Dave Lynch
Δ   Indonesian jazz fusion outfit simakDialog were formed in Jakarta in 1993 by Riza Arshad, a mainly self–taught keyboardist skilled in a variety of styles including jazz, prog rock, and global traditional musics, along with drummer/percussionist Arie Anuyir and electric bassist Indro Hardjodikoro. Tohpati Ario Hutomo, a classical and jazz guitarist, also joined simakDialog that year — transforming the group from a trio to a quartet — and like Arshad became a key member of the ensemble over the next two decades. While the influences of such jazz and fusion pioneers as Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, and Weather Report can be readily discerned in the music of simakDialog, the group's unique stylistic meld also draws from Indonesian gamelan music, and the Sundanese kendang, a two–headed drum used in gamelan ensembles, is a key component of simakDialog's sound.
Δ   Trance/Mission Lukisan, the group's debut album, arrived in 1995; the album featured Arshad on acoustic piano and synthesizers, Tohpati on electric and acoustic guitars, bassist Hardjodikoro, and drummer Anuyir, who played a conventional Gretsch drum set. However, Anuyir would depart simakDialog (in fact, departing Indonesia and immigrating to the United States), and the group's 1999 sophomore album, Baur, saw Arshad, Tohpati, and Hardjodikoro joined by Jalu D. Pratidina, Endang Ramdan, and Erlan Suwardana, all of whom played the kendang. Suwardana also played the kethuk, another gamelan ensemble instrument, as did an additional contributor to the album, Emy Tata, who also provided vocals. This lineup would remain unchanged for simakDialog's third album, Trance/Mission, released in 2002, although in actuality new electric fretless bassist Adhitya Pratama had joined the group as a replacement for Hardjodikoro the preceding year.
Δ   Patahan With album releases and festival appearances thus far primarily centered in Indonesia, the ensemble's profile expanded when its 2006 album, Patahan, recorded live the previous year, was released internationally by the MoonJune label in 2007. The album featured simakDialog's core quartet lineup of Arshad (now playing Fender Rhodes in addition to acoustic piano and synthesizer), Tohpati, Ramdan, and Pratama joined by guests Tata (on various Indonesian percussion instruments and vocals/poetry), vocalist Nyak Ina Raseuki "Ubiet," and Marla Stukenberg (the latter, perhaps surprisingly, in a German–language poetry reading spoken simultaneously with a reading by Tata in Bahasa, the official language of Indonesia).
Δ   Demi Masa The favorably received Patahan was followed by simakDialog's second MoonJune album, Demi Masa, released in 2009. In addition to Arshad, Tohpati, Ramdan, and Pratama, the core lineup now included a second kendang player and percussionist, Erlan Suwardana. As in previous albums, several guests were also featured, including — once again — longtime contributor Emy Tata. Four years later, simakDialog issued their third MoonJune album and sixth overall, the appropriately titled The 6th Story. The album, including metal percussionist Cucu Kurnia along with Arshad, Tohpati, Ramdan, Pratama, and Suwardana, was released in September 2013, the same month simakDialog embarked on a tour of the U.S. East Coast, including appearances at ProgDay in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Brooklyn's ShapeShifter Lab; Baltimore's Orion Studio; and the Made in Indonesia Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Artist's website: www.myspace.com/simakDialog
Label: http://www.moonjune.com/
simakDialog ‘The 6th Story’ Concert
Δ   It’s important to be ‘fluent’ in ‘speaking’ jazz, but we shouldn’t forget that we can also create a new way to enjoy it by involving our local–traditional cultures. The nature of jazz which has freedom and openness provides unlimited possibility, and that’s a very interesting playground for creative musicians.
Δ   SimakDialog has been walking in this particular field since 1993. It was founded by key–wiz/composer Riza Arshad and his music partner Arie Ayunir in 1993. From using drums, Riza took a daring move by replacing it to sets of Sundanese (West Javanese) kendangs and metal toys, opening a whole new soundscape that only a few dare to visit. As a band of six members featuring virtuous keyboardist/composer Riza Arshad, all–round guitarist Tohpati, bassist Adhitya Pratama and three musicians who master the traditional instruments, Endang Ramdan, Erlan Suwardana and Cucu Kurnia on kendangs and metal toys, this ensemble play music that’s not only for entertaining purpose, but also produces something that we can study and be proud of. This is reflected in the group name, which in English means “To listen carefully to the dialogue.”
Δ   The last album of simakDialog was released 4 years ago titled “Demi Masa”. Since this album goes internationally through the US label MoonJune Records, this cross ethno-jazz progressive ensemble gained a lot of critical acclaims worldwide. Since then, Riza Arshad and the team has been working for another step, from making new compositions, establishing new concept to continuing the research of fusing the traditional Sundanese rhythm into the modern jazz.
Δ   As the magical simakDialog celebrates its 20th anniversary, they are happy to inform you that the 6th album with the title of “The 6th Story” is ready to launch. Following the first promo concert at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta in December 2012, now simakDialog is set to make the second concert. SimakDialog ‘The 6th Story’ concert will be held on May 17, 2013 at GoetheHaus Jakarta, starting from 8:00 pm til finish. If you attend the concert, you will receive the simakDialog’s new album and listen to the songs through live performance, all for only IDR 50.000.
Δ   Through endless reseach over the years simakDialog has successfully replaced drums with Sundanese kendangs and metal toys. It’s not an easy task, but as time goes by, the ensemble can deliver it comfortably. They have fun in playing the music, we have fun in enjoying well–executed magical masterpieces. They bravely use kendang as the backbone rhythm, much further also utilize it as the time keeper. Last month we attended Riza Arshad and Kai Brückner collaboration as a part of Serambi Jazz program in Bandung where Riza brought his traditional rhythm section into it. At that time we approached Brückner and asked what he thinks about kendang. Can it be used in jazz, replacing the role of drums? “Yes, absolutely. It can fit the jazz concept perfectly.” he said.
Δ   For The 6th Story, Riza Arshad and the band is focusing on the harmony/structural wise than some tracks in previous albums. “For instance — I used more ‘common’  harmony approach almost in each composition in order to make listener pay more attention on the band’ rhythm section, and hope that they would experience with this ‘new approach’ concept and begin to get familiar to our music that based on traditional Sundanese terms.” says Riza.
Δ   So, it’s time for you to see where the invention stands today. The new crafts of simakDialog which all listed in the new album can soon be yours, as well as enjoying them through a live performance, simply by attending this concert. Only a few days left, make a reservation now so you won’t miss it. (http://jazzuality.com/)_____________________________________________________________

simakDialog — The 6th Story (2013)



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