simakDialog, The 6th Story, 2013
Welcome to another MoonJune release and welcome to yet another Indonesian outfit in the instrumental jaxx rock vein. The band formed in Jakarta in 1993 and is the brainchild of keyboard player Riza Arshad. On board is also guitar player Tohpati, who has been featured here before. The inside of the 6 page digipack tells a lot of how this 6th album by the band came about. And listening to the final result it is not hard to fathom why they describe this as a very involved process, melting Indonesian elements (mainly traditional percussion) with more Western flavoured parts.
All that results in an album that, at least for a part, takes time to digest. Opener Stepping In for instance seems a true free jazz build on first listening. All musicians are carried on the groove laid down by bass and percussion, but it is hard to distinguish a thread in the song. Second track, while being almost just as long as the first (9 instead of 10 minutes), has a much more melodic sense to it. Guitars and keyboards work together in delivering that, and that makes it a much more enjoyable affair to my ears. This ambiguity can be found throughout. But repeated play creates more comfort as I am sure you can imagine. No doubt that all players are seasoned musicians, so their listeners need to be seasoned as well. If you hang in there, a lot is actually quite beautiful!