With a new assignment to deliver, Indonesian fusioneer finds another terra firma.
There’s a few faces this artist wears within various projects’ frameworks, but “Mata Hati” might be his most refined rock record. It’s a follow-up to 2014’s "Tribal Dance" which was released under Tohpati’s’s own name and 2010’s "Save The Planet" that saw the guitarist leading his quintet to reaches unknown, and here the personal and the collective are mixed in equal measures to create a solid ground for another experiment and, at the same time, for a rave-up.
That’s what’s happening on “Janger” whose “Iron Lion Zion”-like riff – given a 3D scope by the Czech Symphony Orchestra – unfolds to reveal an aerial view of a full-on panorama of Indonesia with its heavily vibrating cityscape and buzzing jungle that ooze life from every pore when pierced, tickled and poked by a six-string tentacle. Yet while flutes and percussion spice up the drive even on the most delicate numbers, such as a countrified “Rancak” or the title track, two little symphonies, the folk element is headed for a frontal collision with fiery funk on “Berburu” and metallic blues on “Pelog Rock” where, in a strangely satisfying way, jazz strands penetrate the arresting onslaught.
Fusion may soften up for the breezy weave of “Tanah Emas” – cooled and then heated by Indro Hardjodikoro’s bass – but experimentalism is at its zenith on “Reog” to drive Balinese flavor towards purified prog with a space bent, and kick away the tentative drama which leads into “Pangkur” in favor of a hot and humid wigout. It’s there that the drum fest running throughout the record and melodious clang find their shelter-cum-asylum in “Amarah” before the carefully arranged entrancing chaos is laid down to rest.
In the complexity of exotic music celebrated by MoonJune the primal element may often give way to abstract beauty; here, the passion reigns supreme.