Recorded during simakDialog's 2013 tour which culminated with the gig at Orion Studios, in Baltimore, this two-disc set finds the Indonesian progressive icons in top form: serving up their own brand of inspired and spirited music which listens as much as it speaks. Touring in support of their most recent studio effort, 2013's highly-praised The 6th Story
), the group delivered a set inclusive of some of its best material, as well as other great songs spanning their twenty-plus-year career.
Composer and (Fender) Rhodes scholar, Riza Arshad, possesses one of the most capable sets of hands ever to grace a Fender Rhodes. His manipulation of this classic keyboard, whose warm and slightly rounded metallic voice has helped define modern jazz, brings out the very best it has to offer as he charts out new territories of sound. Arshad’s wonderfully sophisticated compositions form the perfect armature for the musicians to flesh out the sound in a very organic way that compels the listener to deeply take it all in.
Tohpati’s guitar work is the perfect dance partner to Arshad’s keys, as he alternately leads or follows, depending on the needs of each composition. His subtle atmospherics bring to mind David Torn, Terje Rypdal and Nels Cline, while his leadwork can possess both the fluidity of Holdsworth and the aggressiveness of Jeff Beck. Though there is no shortage of acrobatic axe-wielding on “Live at Orion”, Tohpati’s democratic interplay with Riza’s gorgeous Rhodes is the real star here – creating a powerful synergy that gives voice to the whole of the music over its parts.
The rhythm section of Endang Ramdan and Erlan Suwardana, each on Sudanese kendang percussion, along with Cucu Kurnia on assorted metal percussion and the understated and convincing “Bitches Brew” funk groove of bassist Rudy Zulkarnaen, creates a formidable foundation of one of the most original and innovative progressive electric jazz artists today. The band is joined for an encore number ("5, 6") which features a guest appearance by fellow MoonJune recording artist Beledo, as he and Tohpati push each other to new heights for the show's impacting climax.
... and they were not disappointed: the band delivered a rivoting performance for the ages. They even brought along a special guest for the occasion: fellow MoonJune artist, maestro guitarist, Beledo! (... who joined the band for the closing number, "5,6.") It was a night of pure magic, as the band's "musical ESP" was clearly in evidence -- inspiring both band and audience alike, and pushing their music to plateaus that precious few bands could ever attain.
This is a superbly-recorded and -produced album, documenting a monumental performance that none in attendance will ever forget!