SIMAK DIALOG — Live at Orion

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SIMAK DIALOG - Live at Orion cover
4.25 | 3 ratings | 2 reviews
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Live album · 2015

Filed under World Fusion


Disc One
1. Throwing Words (12:07)
2. Stepping In (12:40)
3. For Once And Never (8:37)
4. One Has To Be (13:05)
5. Lain Parantina (12:20)
Disc Two
1. This Spirit (18:02)
2. Kemarau (11:02)
3. Disapih (12:09)
4. 5,6 (11:31)


Riza Arshad (Fender Rhodes electric piano);
Tohpati (electric guitar);
Rudy Zulkarnaen (bass guitar);
Endang Ramdan (Sundanese kendang percussion);
Erlan Suwardana (Sundanese kendang percussion);
Cucu Kurnia (assorted metal percussion)

About this release

MoonJune MJR068 (US)

Recorded live on September 7, 2013, at The Orion, Baltimore, MD

Thanks to snobb for the addition


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The once easily maligned and watered down genre known as jazz fusion has been making quite a comeback in the new century, due in large part to an infusion of fresh new talent from around the globe who bring the music of their culture to the mix. You could hardly call Simak Dialog new, as they have been recording for almost twenty years, but since their addition to the MoonJune roster of artists, they have been reaching a far wider international audience that may see them as a relatively new band on the scene. There are so many great fusion bands coming from Indonesia these days, some carry a stronger influence of their culture than others, but few show such a strong element of classic Indonesian Gamelan as Simak Dialog. “Live at Orion” is the latest live offering from Dialog, and it shows them playing many songs from their recently released “6th Story” , as well some cuts from older albums, and a couple tracks that have not shown up on any of their previous releases.

Long time fans of Dialog will know what to expect here, a mix of Gamelan rhythms and structures fused with a late 60s style of raw jazz rock that often veers into psychedelic and avant-garde sound layers. The backbone of the Dialog sound is the tuned drums and metallophones of the Indonesian Gamelan, to this they add Riza Arshad on Fender Rhodes, Tohpati on electric guitar and Rudy Zulkarnen on bass. All the instruments blend perfectly; the Fender Rhodes is basically an amplified metallophone in itself, and Tohpati is apt to run his guitar through a ring modulator which gives it a clangorous percussive metallic effect, much like the Gamelan instruments and the Rhodes. This combination of instruments can sound like a modern mini gamelan orchestra, a tuned percussion ensemble playing John Cage’s prepared piano pieces, or Stockhausen’s experiments with ring modulated sounds. In between these more avant-garde ambitions, Dialog is apt to hit a steady groove and let Tohpati play a fret burning guitar solo.

The music on here is excellent, far more creative and original than many of their fusion peers, but unfortunately all of this great music is somewhat marred by a rather lackluster sound. Simak Dialog’s music is raw and earthy, so I wouldn’t expect, or even want a real polished sound, but there is something lacking here, a certain high end and sharp definition. It almost sounds like the concert was picked up on one or two room mics, rather than individual instrument microphones or line-ins. Its not a huge problem, as every instrument is nice and clear, but music this good deserves a better sound.

Members reviews

kev rowland

Recorded live on September 7, 2013, at The Orion, Baltimore, MD, this was to be the final release for simakDialog. Looking back to their previous live album from 2005, Ravid, Tohpati and Endang were still there, with bassist Rudy Zulkarnaen and additional percussionists in Erlan Suwardana and Cucu Kurnia. This release is a double CD, and again none of the songs are less than eleven minutes in length, and the band are determined to stretch their wings. “Throwing Words” is very different in the live environment to when it was released some ten plus years earlier, with Tohpati demanding centre stage and taking firm control. The band had been together for twenty years by this point, and the way that Tohpati and Ravid swap roles and bounce off each other in superb.

Here is a band where everyone is a master of their instrument and knows exactly where each of them needs to be musically, but the coming together of Western and Indonesian styles and sounds allows them to sound both incredibly tight and loose at the same time. Just listen to the combined runs of Tohpati and Ravid at the beginning of “Stepping In” to see what I mean, as while they are hitting each note in perfect unison at great speed, the percussionists are creating a sound storm beneath them. This album is a perfect introduction to a great band, who never really gained the kudos they deserved outside their native country. Discover this, and then go back and listen to their other releases to see why I am such a fan.

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