MoonJune Records' press release compares Indonesia's simakDialog's sound to ECM and Pat Metheny; accurate enough, but perhaps Patahan — the title means "faults," of all things — is a more interesting endeavor than the average Metheny opus? A sumptuous improvisatory scheme belies the five extended compositions performed during this concert in Jakarta, the band's home turf, with audience noise generously kept to a bare minimum.
In lieu of kit drums, rhythmic pulses are maintained by percussionists Endang Ramdan and Emy Tata, who play the equivalent of a conga called a kendang. Fretless bassist Adhitya Pratama completes the rhythm section with his liquid grooves. The overall musical focus emphasizes the keyboard and guitar work, by Riza Arshad and Tohpati Ario Hutomo, respectively. Those two are responsible for all of the savory melodic, lead and chordal work, which they provide in spades. Arshad's preference is for his Rhodes piano, which he seems capable of playing for days as his roving tapestry-like lines reveal. Hutomo's role at first seems a bit reined in, but when he unleashes his lyrical flourishes, Arshad steps back into a chordal support-role and allows his bandmate to shine — and shine he does. "One Has To Be" instantly displays the talent in this ensemble. Vocalist Nyak Ina Raseuki steps in on a portion of "Spur Of The Moment"; while the music is stylistically dissimilar, her presence will remind of Keiko Kawashima's recent involvement with
On the spectral "Kemarau," Arshad switches to acoustic piano — with sprinklings of synth noises — for a slow crescendo, while Hutomo juxtaposes with the controlled chaos of feedback. "Worthseeing" is the first epic lengthwise, but while it turns up the energy for the first half with an upped tempo and long, rockin' guitar solo, the second, piano-centric improv half should really have its own index point. At twenty minutes, "Kain Sigli" opens with a full ninety-second poetry recital executed dually in German (a prevuously-recorded Marla Stukenberg) and Bahasa (live, by Tata). An atmospheric synth-and-acoustic guitar prelude heads on to the six-minute mark, after which business resumes along the lines of "Spur Of The Moment." Raseuki also reappears and takes a more prominent role alongside Arshad and Hutomo and company.
What Patahan adds up to is a much-needed foray into new, carefully sculpted jazz-rock; realistically, the album may not quite be fusion, but that's only a label. Oftimes, the seams between genres blur to a white-noise consistency, and all that matters is the music.
1. One Has To Be (13:34)
2. Spur Of The Moment (13:02)
3. Kemarau 11:07
4. Worthseeing (16:22)
5. Kain Sigli (19:49)
Total time – 73:53