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coverpic flag Indonesia - Full Moon 158 - 08/06/09

Demi Masa
MoonJune Records

This is the fifth album by simakDialog and the second distributed by MoonJune. We reviewed the previous one, the live album Patahan, a couple of years ago. The band is a jazz/jazzrock quintet that differs from their colleagues in the West by adding traditional Indonesian percussive instruments like the Kendang. In fact there are two permanent percussion players in the band by now, and a guest player in addition. You have to listen quite carefully to fully enjoy the percussive excursions on Demi Masa, alas! The music, almost completely instrumental this time, is dominated by leader Riza Arshad's electric and acoustic piano and to some extent Tohpati's electric guitar.

I find some of the electric piano solos a bit tedious. The sound of the Fender Rhodes is occasionally very dry and dull, and quite a few of the solos, to my reckoning, sound uninspired and don't seem to lead anywhere. They are more suited to demonstrate the individual's technical skills rather than the entirety and melody. At least it works that way for a not particularly jazz oriented listener like me. But, of course, the album has its moments. For instance there are some nice keyboard and guitar interplay here & there. They're unfortunately too short and too few. The guitar work sounds more edgy to me than the electric piano, occasionally reminding of excellent European guitarists like Terje Rypdal and Phil Miller (of MoonJune stablemates these days In Cahoots).

All in all I much prefer Patahan where the music is more focused on melody, the Indonesian percussion and acoustic piano.

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You may also want to check out our simakDialog article/review: Patahan.

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