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(51:28, Moonjune Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Janger 6:29 2. Tanah Emas 5:17 3. Pelog Rock 5:27 4. Mata Hati 6:36 5. Berburu 6:42 6. Rancak 4:33 7. Reog 6:51 8. Pangkur 4:32 9. Amarah 5:01 LINEUP: Tohpati - guitars Indro Hardjodikoro - bass Demas Narawangsa - drums Endang Ramdan - percussion Diki Suwarjiki - flute, tarompet With: Czech Symphony Orchestra
Prolusion. Tohpati Ethnomission is one of the solo projects of Indonesian guitarist Tohpati, otherwise known as the guitarist in Indonesian band Simak Dialog as well as having a solo career that dates back to the late 1990's. This particular project first appeared back in 2010. "Mata Hati" is the second album from this band, and was released through US label Moonjune Records in 2016.
Analysis. Jazz and jazzrock are the primary genres of choice for the music released on Moonjune Records, and in this case we're dealing with an album having a go at the latter category of music. This is jazz and rock combined with world music flavors in a striking and compelling manner. Music that, despite being instrumental and with jazz as an element, most likely will have a fairly broad appeal. It is kind of interesting getting to know more about the jazz-oriented genres of music, as most people not overly familiar with anything mentioned in a jazz context imagine this type of music to be difficult to comprehend and challenging to enjoy. People with that view, of which I have encountered a fair few so far in life, would be stunned by an album such as this one. The musicians are, by and large, fairly restrained as far as exploring their more expressive impulses. Not that this is easy music, at the core this is a complex and sophisticated production, but everything have been assembled in a manner that makes the music easy to listen to. The devil is in the details, so to speak, of which there is an abundance to be found on this album. The guitar is, unsurprisingly, the star of the show here. Not always a dominant feature, but always present as the provider of elegant solo runs, gentler wandering motifs as well as harder edged, firm and powerful riffs. Personally I find some of the compositions revolving around the harder guitar riffs to be among the more compelling here. Not due to the guitar element in itself, but due to the context in which it is used. There is a fair bit of world music details on this album, first and foremost provided by the percussionist and flutist. And when they combine with more western style guitar riffs, this creates a striking contrast that is highly compelling to experience. That being said, the band can be equally appealing when relaxing a bit and emphasizing a more folk-tinged expression, as beautifully explored on the joyful and uplifting Tanah Emas. As usual for a Moonjune Records production, the mix and production doesn't leave anything to be desired. This is a quality label, and while the music released by Moonjune sometime may be an acquired taste, the quality of the productions can never be questioned.
Conclusion. Those with a taste for instrumental jazzrock of a spirited and energetic nature will find a lot to enjoy on this second album by Tohpati Ethnomission, and then in particular those who enjoy world music elements to be included in such landscapes. If you tend to enjoy music that by and large is uplifting as well, and tends to shy away from being overly expressive and difficult, this is a CD that warrants an inspection.
Progmessor: March 29th 2018
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