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coverpic flag Indonesia - Full Moon 136 - 10/26/07

Moonjune Records

An album from Indonesia. Wow! Can it be more exotic? I've never heard anything from that part of the world earlier except some traditional gamelan music.

Now, initially simakDialog (meaning 'listen carefully to the dialogue' in Indonesian) doesn't sound particularly Indonesian. We're dealing with a jazz band in the North American/European tradition, mainly dominated by the piano playing of Riza Arshao. Patahan is recorded live in Jakarta in April 2006. It starts rather melodic with "One Has To Be" that might be compared with Pat Metheny Group according to the press sheet from Moonjune. Further into the album and concert - five pieces between 11 and 20 minutes long all in all - the music turns more experimental with electronics and female voices. The overall impression of the two tracks with vocals is rather cacophonous, due to the singing with and without words, especially the scat singing.

But, listening more carefully to the album it's not hard to detect that simakDialog has more to offer than plain copies of Western jazz. The two percussionists of the band use traditional Indonesian gamelan instruments, both tuned and more ordinary ones. Generally the percussionists don't dominate, their playing works as a fundament that gives the music a special and unique touch.

A lot of musicians and bands nowadays - being it within the pop, rock or jazz bag - have something to learn from simakDialog. In addition to what is international recognisable and accepted the band offers something that is characteristic from the region where the band members originate.

Further information at the Moonjune homepage and the band's space at Myspace.

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

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