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I KNOW YOU WELL MISS CLARA MJR057
Chapter One  
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MoonJune Records continues to amaze and astonish the progressive world, as yet more musical treasures from Indonesia are unearthed and revealed, with the phenomenal debut of Yogyakarta's young progressive explorers, I Know You Well Miss Clara. Referencing a vast diversity of modern music's most visionary pioneers -- ranging from Jimi Hendrix, Soft Machine and Matching Mole, to the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman (just to name a few) -- their music captures the energy and essence which characterized some of progressive jazz' and fusion's greatest and most defining artists, producing moments of sheer creative genius and uncompromising quality.

Chapter One is a profound, monumental release: an album boldly (and easily) surpassing most of the genre's recent efforts in terms of ambition and accomplishment. It's songs are full of intrigue, expressed in a vibrant, urgent manner that -- while paying homage to a host of stellar, profound influences -- never sacrifices sensitivity and reverence of the moment for the sake of showing off chops. (... and these cats have got some chops!) IKYWMC's music goes places where few have been fearless- or capable-enough to venture. Their influences are unmistakeable, yet the end result is completely and uniquely their own.

I Know You Well Miss Clara is fronted by the adventurous, imaginative stylings of guitarist Reza Ryan and the poetic, masterful artistry of the young keyboard prodigy, Adi Wijiya. Ryan's fretwork is as unpretentious as it is explosive and unpredictable; he plays with the passion and conviction of an early John McLaughlin or Phil Miller, but never flaunts his considerable capacity. Wijiya is every bit his equal on keyboards, demonstrating all of the poise, technique and vocabulary of a young Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul or Richie Beirach.

Their rhythm section (bassist Enriko Gultom and drummer Alfiah Akbar) keep proceedings on solid footing, while augmenting and decorating in equally-impressive fashion. This is a band with some serious skills, but also a decidedly adventurous, risk-taking persona.

With all four members still being relatively young and having less than three years of playing together under their belts, their music belies its circumstance -- with uncanny depths of corporate dynamics, sonic telepathy and advanced harmonic sensibilities, all clearly in evidence. This is progessive music of the absolute highest echelon, at its most far-reaching, sensitive and creative.

Notice is served: the next chapter in the unfolding evolution of progressive jazz fusion has been written with Chapter One! Dark and foreboding; mysterious, suspenseful and surprising: their creations are a breath of fresh air for a genre clamoring desperately for such sincerity and authenticity.

So it is with great pride and privilege that MJR presents the music of I Know You Well Miss Clara. This "immediately essential" initial offering will remind listeners of why they first fell in love with progressive music ... it just doesn't get any better or any more real than this. Like an exotic delicacy or a vintage wine, this is music to be savored: an unpretentious exploration into the very nature of music and musical expression. For connoisseurs and afficiandos, this a feast for your ears ... don't miss this landmark debut!

 
 
TRACKSClick on any highlighted track title to listen to individual audio samples, or listen to them all on the player to the right.
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PERSONNEL
REZA RYAN: guitar
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ADI WIJAYA: keyboards
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ENRIKO GULTOM: bass
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ALFIAH AKBAR: drums
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with Special Guest
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NICHOLAS COMBE: sax (on Tracks 6 & 7)
PRODUCTION
All songs written by Reza Ryan, except: Open The Door, See The Ground (Adi Wijaya / Reza Ryan), and; Pop Sick Love Carousel (Enriko Gultom / Adi Wijaya / Reza Ryan).
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Recorded at Kua Studio & Otakkanan Studio, Jogjakarta, Indonesia in 2012.
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Mixed and Mastered at DMU (Digital Music University, Surabaya, Indonesia), in 2013.
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Audio Engineer: Cahyanandra Dhyaksa
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Produced by IKYWMC.
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USA / World Release Executive Production: Leonardo Pavkovic
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ALBUM REVIEWS

"... Chapter One is unexpected, at times neoclassical, then Blue Note hushed, later 70s fusionoid, but always rather audacious in their approach at every point.

"When Reza Ryan decides to step out on guitar, he does so emphatically but also opaquely. The emotion built is difficult to define, kinda like a Nobel physicist sipping daquiris while fitting new formulae into a gigantic equation he's been working on for a year. When it's done, you know it's magnificent…you just don't know what it is, and he won't tell you as he grins and closes his eyes, humming.

"These lads are icy cool sophisticates, neuromancers in jeans and t-shirts, unruffled and unprepossessing. Those fond of jam bands in a Bonaroo / Burning Man fashion, especially the chill and acid aspects, will bliss out and offer sacrifices to the gods that Clara will decide to put in appearances stateside sometime soon. One can listen for hours, turn into a puddle of protoplasm, and still have the brain locked into every nuance, all the susurrating oceans of vistas and horizons. Sometimes, my friends, sometimes you can be just as dazed by whispering sorceries as by exploding slabs of distortion and chords; sometimes the former overpowers the latter, and this is one of those very rare times."

- Mark S. Tucker, FAME

"... I Know You Well Miss Clara are the latest gem unearthed by Moonjune Records’ Leonardo Pavkovic in the thriving Indonesian music scene.

"... a refreshing take on the classic jazz-rock template so well interpreted in the Seventies by the likes of Return to Forever, Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra – the latter being by far the biggest influence on the band’s sound. Canterbury outfits such as Hatfield and the North and National Health are also a clear source of inspiration for I Know You Well Miss Clara, as indicated by a playful exuberance that speaks volumes about the members’ enjoyment of music-making, coupled (though never in conflict) with a very high level of technical proficiency.

"Successfully blending serious chops with engaging spontaneity and enthusiasm, I Know You Well Miss Clara’s debut is one of the best instrumental albums released in 2013 so far, and will delight devotees of classic jazz-rock/fusion – especially those who prize emotion over an excess of technical fireworks."

- Raffaella Berry, ProgSphere

"Featuring guitar wizard Reza Ryan, keyboard phenom Adi Wijaya, bassist Enriko Gultom, and drummer Alfiah Akbar, the band play a lyrical and melodic form of progressive rock & jazz-fusion that will thrill any lover of classic Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Brand X, and National Health.

"Moonjune lists Chapter One as an 'immediately essential initial offering' from I Know You Well Miss Clara, and I can't say I disagree with that statement at all. Modern day progressive fusion with a strong look back at the greats of the '70s is all the rage here, and I can't wait to see what this band has in store for us next. As a first chapter, it's a very good one indeed."

- Pete Pardo, Sea of Tranquility

"With its debut, the young quartet's rite of passage is largely centered on climactic buildups, spiced with dense and haunting phraseology, where they entwine an aggregation of moody passages and breezy interludes before zooming in for the kill.

"... amped by Ryan's stinging solos and brawny developments, packed with a great deal of chutzpah. Hence, it's a well-formed and thought-provoking agenda that imparts additional insight on subsequent listens. The band uses space and depth as a means for appending colorful textures and a vehicle for refreshing previously stated motifs."

- Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz

"Be prepared to be stunned and amazed with “Chapter One,” the debut CD of the Indonesian band I Know You Well Miss Clara. Aside from Japan, Indonesia may very well be the most educated Asian nation regarding Western music and culture. This album proves that point with every bar and on every track.

"While catching glimpses of Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return to Forever, there is also a shocking representation of King Crimson or Focus or Caravan, among others.

"... the listener is amazed to recall that this is a debut album from a band only four years old. This sounds like the product of years of musical association.

"... I Know You Well Miss Clara brings fresh life to a genre that had been almost disregarded.

"Leonardo Pavkovic and MoonJune Records have done the Jazz world a great service by introducing this band to the rest of the world. Perhaps the most exciting element of this album is the fact that it is entitled “Chapter One” with more chapters to follow in this wonderful book that we cannot put down."

- Travis Rogers, JazzTimes

"Indonesia was probably at the edge of the map for many of jazz-rock’s ’60s pioneers, but the influence of bands such as Soft Machine and Mahavishnu Orchestra eventually found its way to a young band from the island nation, I Know You Well Miss Clara."

- Morton Shlabotnik, Shepard Express

"Blending various elements from acts & artists like: Jimi Hendrix, Soft Machine, Matching Mole, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Weather Report, Return to Forever, Chick Corea and so on, this Indonesian quartet are (getting) into something rather aspiring and progressive. Experimental with jazz-fusion improvisations on the one hand and prog rock (Canterbury scene), atmospheric, avant-garde & psychedelic on the other, I can definitely say that “Chapter One” has a lot to offer to the open-minded musicians & listeners.

"IKWMC have embellished their music with melodic & atmospheric passages so as to make the whole listening procedure way more interesting and not tiresome. Furthermore, the saxophonist Nicholas Combe has also added a bit to that with his wonderful sax parts. I’d like to see how I Know You Well Miss Clara are gonna evolve through the years… cuz’ their debut release is very stimulating above all…"

- Thanos, Grande Rock

"... incorporates a rock dynamic that runs from the opening number’s wailing guitar work by the group’s leader, Reza Ryan, through all seven of the album’s tracks. This is a musician who can play with soulful tenderness ..."

- Jack Goodstein, BlogCritics

"... jazz-rock with a contemporary and a new, creative vision ...

"A refreshing progressive, Canterbury-styled Jazz-rock album and a talented band."

- Gerald Van Waes, Homestead Progressive

"... a cool disc here. It’s based in a progressive rock meets fusion sound. At times it lands close to King Crimson. At other times it’s more like Rock In Opposition. Other parts are more pure fusion. It’s never boring or trite, though. This is cool stuff, despite the odd name."

- G.W. Hill, Music Street Journal

"... tensile strength and plenty of substance and power.

"This is very together music. Do not pass this one by if you want to hear something new that both thinks and rocks!"

- Grego Applegate, Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog

"... a modern day noise to equal the visceral excitement of the Mahavishnu Orchestra in its prime. Yes, they are that good. It is unusual for me to get so hot under the collar about modern jazz fusion, as a lot of it leaves me cold, technical proficiency often taking precedence over feeling. Not with this group, far from it; I Know You Well Miss Clara have soul by the bucketload, and never let their undoubtedly stellar individual chops overpower the group dynamic.

"... one little gem of an album."

- Roger Trenwith, Dutch Progressive Rock Page

"... simply delightful ...

"... much more eclectic than the normal Fusion band, combining elements of Rock, Psychedelia, Avant Garde and of course Jazz.

"... an exploration of different Rock and Jazz sub-genres, with special emphasis in mysterious and extensive Avant Garde passages."

- Ivan Melgar, ProgArchives

"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.

"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.

***** (5 Stars)

- Kev Rowland, ProgArchives

"... a fantastic instrumental album that is a magical experience.

"If Matching Mole, D.F.A, Hatfield and the North, and the Soft Machine had a younger nephew, it would be I Know You Well Miss Clara ... a must have album for any Jazz or Prog fan to understand the meaning of the combination of the two."

- Zachary Nathanson, Music From The Other Side of the Room

"Their sound wanders freely between idioms, with a heavy jazz accent all around and blasts of avant-progressive and 70s Crimsoid rock, 100% instrumental. The mood shifts between dark and pensive to more colorful and joyful sorties into the bright lights of jazz-rock, but escapes anything that might be called fusion in the traditional 70s sense, unless we’re talking electric Miles Davis, the more laid-back elements of early Return to Forever, Allan Holdsworth when he used to play a real guitar, or early 70s Soft Machine ...

"There are a lot of great and purely magical moments throughout this, their debut effort (in case you didn’t guess by the title!) and hopefully we are hearing the first of many chapters to come."

- Peter Thelen, Exposé

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ARTIST PROFILE

I Know You Well Miss Clara is an experimental jazz & progressive music quartet, formed in the summer of 2010 and hailing from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Drawing from such wide-ranging influences as Soft Machine, Weather Report, King Crimson, early Return To Forever, Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Ornette Coleman, Jimi Hendrix, Matching Mole, and many others, the group continues to break new ground as it discovers and defines its musical identity, establishing an exquisite, vital contemporary progressive voice in the process.

I Know You Well Miss Clara came together and formed their unique musical bonds while all four were students at the Indonesia Institute of the Arts, in Yogyakarta. The band is comprised of Reza Ryan, guitar; Adi Wijaya, keyboards; Enriko Gultom, bass; and, Alfiah Akbar, drums. Three of the four members are in their early 30's, while Ady is only 25 years of age.

Prior to their monumental debut release on MoonJune Records, the band has stayed busy and visible -- appearing at numerous jazz and blues festivals across Indonesia, while continuing to write and rehearse new material and search out new sonic terrain. The result of this visionary attitude and determined work ethic is a music that touches places where precious little progressive music has recently traversed. It is a bold, adventurous music more committed to being sensitive to the moment than following any formulas or set paths.

Theirs is a kindred spirit to that which defined the best of progressive jazz through much of the seventies and early '80's. It is expressed in a vibrant, urgent manner that, while paying homage to a host of stellar, profound influences, is unpretentious and completely their own. Like an exotic delicacy or a vintage wine, this is music to be savored: an unpretentious exploration into the nature of music and musical expression.

Band's website:
iknowyouwellmissclara.weebly.com/

Image: MoonJune Records recording artists, I KNOW YOU WELL MISS CLARA -- performing at the @America Center.
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