Simak Dialog - Demi Masa
Refreshing in its mix of Western jazz fusion with traditional Indonesian folk rhythms and metal drumming, simakDialog create music that stays with you. "Demi Masa" is refreshing because it manages to not only deliver the soul of Indonesian music (and quite a bit from Sudan, as both percussionists were from there) but creates a hot, driving feel that most fusion bands have sorely lacked from the very beginning. Think Mahavishnu, not Weather Report, and you can imagine this record.
Guitarist Tohpati is the unsung hero here, as his riffs slither in and out of every song, something providing rhythm, other times taking over the melody and sending it higher. Even given the tight format of most of the songs, he manages to open up a wide space for himself and, by such leadersdhip, the song. The leader of all this is keyboardist Riza Arshad, who plays a dominant role, often working over a short phrase on the immortal Fender Rhodes, expanding it just before handing things over to the percussion. Sudan's Endang Ramdan and Erlan Suwardana build off of each other's cues, adding bells, claps and assorted whatnot. Each time this happens it gets hot in here.
Distorted, sweaty and pulsing with folk beats are not terms usually associated with fusion influenced bands. Simak Dialog break that curse. "Demi Masa" is a welcome surprise, and a smoking set that I'm sure goes down hard live.
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