Indonesian keyboard virtuoso Dwiki Dharmawan follows up his excellent 2016 release Pasar Klewer with the equally enjoyable & mesmerizing Rumah Batu, another winner for the red hot MoonJune Records, a label that just seems to be knocking it out of the park lately with a bevy of stunning, mostly instrumental jazz-fusion releases. Joining the pianist here on this latest outing is guitarist Nguyen Le, bassist Carles Benavent, upright bassist Yaron Stavi, and drummer Asaf Sirkis, the latter two also appearing together on the new release from Mark Wingfield, Tales From the Dreaming City. A few guest vocalists, flautists, and percussionists round out the album.
A richly textured, colorful, and ethnic sounding album, Rumah Batu carries all the flavors of Dwiki's home of Indonesia, while at the same time delivering classic, melodic jazz & jazz-fusion elements. Kicking off with the excellent 1-2 punch of "Rintak Rebana" and "Paris Barantai", the listener is greeted with cascades of Dharmawan's classic piano melodies and the alluring suling flute before a decidedly Chick Corea/Return to Forever styled latin jazz-fusion romp settles in, Le eventually exploding with a killer guitar solo that shows his rock prowess. The latter also hints at vintage Corea, complete with stunning melodies and meaty bass grooves from Stavi and Benavent. "Impenan" is just gorgeous, as tranquil piano, suling flute by Sa' 'At Syah, and Dewi Gita's angelic, soaring vocals just permeate the lush arrangement. The title track suite is broken into two lengthy parts, combined well over 25 minutes, the vocals, flute, and piano drifting over atmospheric soundscapes before morphing into more of a brooding free-jazz number complete with some blazing piano runs from the leader and jagged, Robert Fripp styled guitar explosions courtesy of Le. Just listen to the mighty Sirkis flail away underneath it all as well as the dynamic bass duo laying down all the grooves...pretty extraordinary stuff, and chaotic at the same time. The more melodic and expansive sounding "Samarkand" features some tasty guitar/piano/flute hooks and is easily the quirkiest & catchiest tune on the album, also housing a nimble bass solo, while the majestic "Salamatkan Orang Utan' closes things out on an upbeat, fulfilling note, the flute's soaring, the piano engaging, and the rhythms just locking in you in.
A pure treat for the senses, Rumah Batu is a beautiful listen, chock full of traditional Indonesian elements as well as classic jazz and some fusion. Compositionally as well as musically speaking, this is a stunning album, once again Dwiki Dharmawan delivering MoonJune with yet another winner.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
Rintak Rebana 10:39
Paris Barantai 11:43
Rumah Batu Suite, Part 1 - Kaili 12:24
Rumah Batu Suite, Part 2 - Perjalanan 14:14
Salamatkan Orang Utan 07:16