I KNOW YOU WELL MISS CLARA

Fusion • Indonesia
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I KNOW YOU WELL MISS CLARA picture
Prog/Fusion-Jazz band from Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

I Know You Well Miss Clara has found the freedom through a great US label, MoonJune Records, established by an entrepreneurial producer, tour manager and promoter Leonardo Pavkovic. The focus of MoonJune is to discover and release music by musicians from multifarious international settings by exploring the expanding boundaries of genuine, challenging “non-over-produced music” that cannot be easily categorized into any specific format. I Know You Well Miss Clara has infiltrated the abutments of music boxes, invented its own character, and evolved it to be more mature. Serving the music in the tradition of Canterbury Scene, the sound of groups of progressive rock, avant garde and adventurous jazz musicians based around the Canterbury city during the 60s to the early 70s such as Soft Machine or Matching Mole.

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I KNOW YOU WELL MISS CLARA Discography

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I KNOW YOU WELL MISS CLARA Chapter One album cover 4.00 | 3 ratings
Chapter One
Fusion 2013

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I KNOW YOU WELL MISS CLARA Reviews

I KNOW YOU WELL MISS CLARA Chapter One

Album · 2013 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
kev rowland
Never let it be said that I don’t do my research, so here are a few facts regarding IKYWMC’s home country, Indonesia. While many people, especially those from the Northern Hemisphere, may be working under the assumption that it is just a small group of islands somewhere north of Australia, it is, in terms of population, the fourth largest country on earth (behind China, India, and the US) with a current estimated population of 250 million, which is somewhat different to the UK’s 65 million and NZ’s 4.5!! It is an archipelago that comprises over 17,000 islands, which go to form a land mass equating to 1,919,440 square kilometres (735,355 square miles) which means that it is the 19th largest country in terms of land. As well as being one of the largest countries in the world they are also mad on music, which is why Leo spends so much time down there unearthing real gems, and yet again he has made a rock solid find with the debut from this instrumental quartet.

These guys have been influenced by progressive rock, psychedelic rock, improvisational jazz and other forms and have brought it all together in an incredible fusion album showing elements of Jimi Hendrix, Soft Machine, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis and Hatfield & The North among others (just to name a few). Incredibly, this album was recorded in just 18 hours, with most of the material being either first or second takes. Although there are large elements of ‘free jazz’ in what they are doing, there is also a great deal of structure and the melodies and intricacies are sublime. They are also very conscious of the arrangements and need for space, and it is not unusual for there are to be long passages where only one or two are actually playing and the others let them get on with it. It is going to be very easy for the rhythm section of bassist Enriko Gultom and drummer Alfiah Akbar to be overlooked, as although they display incredible skills and intuitive playing they are there for the supporting roles behind the two writers and soloists, guitarist Reza Ryan and keyboard player Adi Wijiya. They combine, separate, let each other take the full spotlight, with a delicacy of touchy and fluidity of playing that is quite inspired. Adi’s playing, especially when he is using piano, is full of emotion and lightness of touch while Reza is for me channelling the skills and dexterity of a young John McLaughlin. Although the closing song “A Dancing Girl From Planet Marsavishnu Named After The Love” may not have the spelling quite right, I am sure that it is a tribute to the man himself, and is one of two where they feature some wonderful guest sax from Nicholas Combe who sounds right at home.

The album is a delight from start to finish, and I have to concur with the statement from Sid Smith that is included in the digipak “The time you spend getting to know this music will be time well spent indeed”. If this is their debut, what on earth are they going to come up with next? Fusion really doesn’t get any better than this.

I KNOW YOU WELL MISS CLARA Chapter One

Album · 2013 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
In the late 60s and early 70s, when fusion first hit the scene, experienced musicians often reacted with curiosity and creativity and a lot of interesting music was performed. Over the years, formula and cliché set in and fusion became an exercise in technique, big on flash and speed, but low on creative ideas. Fast forward many decades and fusion has been slowly making a comeback in the new century, and mostly because the old formulas have been cast aside and musicians are re-learning how to explore and experiment. With that neo exploratory feeling intact comes this new quartet from Indonesia, I Know You Well Miss Clara. There is nothing cliché about this group as they fuse free post bop rhythms with aggressive rock-like energy and sounds to grasp an early-70s type experimental feel, but without sounding the least bit quaint or dated.

On their debut CD, “Chapter One”, I Know You Well Miss Clara lists some old school experimental jazz rockers as favorites, including Soft Machine, Matching Mole and Mahavishnu Orchestra, and also list jazzers like Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis as influences as well. You can hear all those artists in Clara’s music, but another good comparison could be those avant-garde jazz artists who dabbled in psychedelic fusion in the early 70s, musicians such as Julian Priester, Norman Connor and Oliver Lake. Those artists remind me of Clara’s tendency to relax and let their improvised sections unwind at an un-hurried pace. That sort of un-rushed mindset that allows for introspective creativity is sometimes hard to come by in the modern music world. In between the improvised sections, the band backs guitarist/leader Reza Ryan as he plays composed melodies with a fluid heavy sustained guitar sound similar to a cross between Steve Vai and Alan Holdsworth. Ryan has plenty of technique and speed when called upon, but he never gives into gratuitous displays of fast scale runs. Reza has a very nice and well controlled sound, but given the light and introspective feel of some of this music, I’m surprised he doesn’t turn off the distortion more often and just go with a natural guitar sound. Still, his heavy sound is a perfect for the closing track, a tribute to his old favorites, the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

If you are looking for modern fusion that is fresh, creative and original, I Know You Well Miss Clara is a good choice. Despite their stated influences, they don’t sound like anyone else.

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