"... 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