Pasar Klewer by Dwiki Dharmawan
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Exhilirating take on Indonesian gamelan Salendro sound. It sounds like Metheny...and then again, it doesn't.
About the Album
Opening track on the Indonesian pianist Dwiki Dharmawan's album on MoonJune records "Pasar Klewer' (2CD/3LP/HD) featuring Dwiki Dharmawan: piano; Mark Wingfield: guitar; Yaron Stavi: upright bass; Asaf Sirkis: drums; Aris Daryono: kendang percussion, rehab 3-strings violin, gamelan percussion, voices. Bassist Yaron Stavi and drummer/percussionist Asaf Sirkis comprise Dharmawan's core trio. These two increasingly renowned musicians have spent considerable time together in Sirkis' trio with guitarist Tassos Spiliotopolos, as well as in projects with guitarist Mark Wingfield and critically acclaimed reed multi-instrumentalist Gilad Atzmon, two other artists making significant contributions to Pasar Klewer. All four musicians share a collective résumé that, in addition to their own projects also includes work with Swiss guitarist Nicolas Meier (another important voice on Pasar Klewer), saxophonist Tim Garland, singer/songwriter Robert Wyatt, ex-Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. UK-based Gamelan musical virtuoso, Aris Daryono, also make significant contributions to several tracks, while Italian singer Boris Savoldelli guests on two tunes (including a reinvention of Wyatt's "Forest"), and the Jess Jegog Gamelan Orchestra and singer Peni Candrarini bring cultural verisimilitude to Dharmawan's radical rearrangement of the traditional "Lir Ilir." Dharmawan wanted to try something different. "Indonesia is the place of 'ultimate diversity,'" the pianist says. "Here, the urban cultures accelerate the 'acculturation' process, which generates changes in cultural patterns and creates new forms of musical expression. Pasar Klewer is the answer to my search for 'the difference,' and also a valuable answer to our modern crises and urban uprooting. The album's distinctive sound originates from an ancient Gamelan tonal system called Salendro, known in the Karawitan traditional music of the Sundanese, Javanese and Balinese. Based on the Gamelan tonal system, I also adapted, as my inspiration, other musical elements from all over the Indonesian archipelago, as well as the western diatonic system." Pasar Klewar's exhilarating opening title track, indeed, possesses a microtonal-informed melody drawn unmistakably from Dharmawan's cultural roots; but its modal nature also affords the pianist and his band mates the freedom to explore everything from Metheny-esque landscapes (though Wingfield's heavily overdriven electric guitar provides a completely non-Metheny vibe during his light-speed solo) to a mid-song shift in mood, where Stavi and Sirkis drive Dharmawan's post-Coltrane, Tyner-via-Beirach-through-Corea exploration of spiritual freedom with similar passion and fire. Daryono takes an impressive vocal/rebab (three-stringed violin) solo before some empathic three-way interplay amongst the core trio leads to a thoroughly musical drum solo reaching deep into the heart of the song before Stavi and Dharmawan re-enter, bringing this twelve-minute epic to a finish with another brilliant piano solo of grand proportions. Cross-pollinated with Wingfield's additional fiery interaction, the music builds to such a climactic peak that, when it suddenly comes to a stop, the band members shouting "Yeah!!" is left to conclude the track, reflecting the energy clearly felt in the studio.
CD 1: Pasar Klewer; Spirit Of Peace; Tjampuhan; Forest; London In June. CD 2: Lir Ilir; Bubuy Bulan; Frog Dance; Life Itself; Purnama; Forest (instrumental).
Dwiki Dharmawan: acoustic piano; Yaron Stavi: acoustic and electric bass; Asaf Sirkis: drums, udu clay percussion, shaker, konakol; Mark Wingfield: electric guitar; Nicolas Meier: electric and acoustic guitars; Gilad Atzmon clarinet, soprano saxophone; Boris Savoldelli: vocals; Ari Daryono: vocals, gamelan percussion, kendang percussion, rebab; Peni Candra Rini: vocals; Gamelan Jess Jegog led by I Nyoman Windha: gamelan orchestra.
- Pasar Klewer by Dave Wayne
September 30, 2016
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